President-elect Joe Biden has dashed hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and US when he succeeds Donald Trump in January. As he outlined his vision for his first few days in the White House, the former vice-president confirmed it does not involve a trade deal with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Instead, Mr Biden has said he will adopt a similar “America First” policy as US President Donald Trump, fighting “like hell” to invest in US firms and employees.
The 78-year-old said: “I’m not going to enter any new trade agreement with anybody until we have made major investments here at home and in our workers and in education.”
Speaking to the New York Times, Mr Biden added: “I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first.”
Mr Johnson had put an agreement with the US at the heart of his plans to revive the UK after Brexit.
Mr Biden’s latest claims do not only damage Mr Johnson’s reputation, though.
In an interview with Express.co.uk, Lord David Owen suggested they could also boost French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to dethrone the City of London as Europe’s banker.
It is no secret that with Brexit around the corner, and no full EU equivalence deal for the City of London in sight, Paris is hoping to raise its global standing in the world of high finance.
Earlier this year, Mr Macron publicly declared their intent to make Paris into the “leading financial centre” in Europe.
With a UK-US trade deal, according to the former Foreign Minister and SDP co-leader, the chances of Paris dethroning London as the continent’s banker would have been really low.
Lord Owen argued that if the City of London and New York become interconnected following a comprehensive agreement, there is no chance Paris will attract more business.
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He said: “If New York is linked to London, and they have all that clout and authority. They will be able to put in cheaper things.
“Now, they have already put people in some other European countries because of Brexit, but unless they want to put up barriers, their industry is going to start saying: ‘I am sorry, I am getting an offer from JP Morgan London that is significantly lower over a ten year period investment. I can’t afford to not give it a go.’
“The City of London is very adaptable and it will have to compete. They are going to have to start cutting their costs and their bids will be lower.
“If they are closer to America, they can then pull in all that finance.
“In most of these big deals, money goes where the cheapest thing is. They don’t care about boundaries. Business doesn’t.”
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Lord Owen added: “I don’t think myself we should underestimate the City of London getting closer to American city financing, allowing us the flexibility to underbid.
“Being told by a politician you have to use Frankfurt or Paris is nonsense. Unless they want to go to a completely regimented, protectionist system, those people will not go.
“They will not get the investment.”
Now that a UK-US trade deal has effectively been put on hold, Mr Macron could end up succeeding with his bid.
Chief executive of European trading platform Aquis Exchange Alasdair Haynes told City A.M. his firm chose to open a Paris unit to be closer to where the regulatory decisions are made.
He said: “We felt very much that you can either argue against being on the outside or actually be on the inside and the French have an enormous influence on how things are run in Europe.”
“We looked at Frankfurt, we looked at Ireland, we looked at Holland and then we looked at France, and the French have been extremely accommodating and it has worked very well and we’ve been very happy with what we’ve seen.