Joe Biden: Expert discusses potential US-UK trade deal
President Biden this week announced a US “policy reset”, after four years of chaotic Donald Trump rule. It came as he described a number of new foreign policies the Democrat administration would pursue after four years of deteriorating relations around the world under Mr Trump. Right from the start, Mr Biden made clear his intention to stand up to Vladmir Putin’s Russia, warning: “The days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions are over.”
He also said domestic and foreign affairs were not exclusive, explaining: “Every action we take in our conduct abroad, we must take with American working families in mind.”
One of the US’ biggest challenges, Mr Biden has noted, is China.
Tackling the apparently unstoppable rise of China is widely regarded as one policy aspect of Mr Trump’s that Mr Biden will continue to follow.
President Xi Jinping has proved a thorn in the side of the US in recent years as his government holds a tight grip over technology and infrastructure around the world.
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In the waning days of Mr Trump’s tenure, his administration declared Beijing was committing genocide against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, also taking the unprecedented step of holding a video conference between a senior US envoy and the president of Taiwan, the self-governed island claimed by China.
Mr Biden is looking towards Europe for allies – but has largely been critical of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
He has been vocal in his opposition to Brexit, and said the world is stronger with the UK a member of the bloc, drawing inspiration from his Irish heritage.
However, the US President’s trajectory in working with the EU was thrown off course earlier this year after Brussels, led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, signed a mammoth investment deal with Beijing worth an estimated £176billion.
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The move, among other things, will make President Biden realise that an independent UK is a more reliable outfit to work with than he previously thought, according to historian Robert Tombs.
He said the UK initially joined the EU – what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) – in part to satisfy the US and provide a bridge between America and Europe.
Decades later, with a transformed geopolitical landscape, Prof Tombs explained: “Arguably, being in the EU made our relations with America closer.
“The question is: now we’re on our own, will we be more or less important to the Americans? To President Biden?
“In some ways we’ll be less important because we will not be influencing the EU, although I don’t think we were influencing them all that much before Brexit.
“Yet, in other ways, more, because with the rise and threat of China, I think the Americans will realise, or have realised, they need their allies or at least need the allies they can trust.
“They’re going to need the EU but the EU is not a very reliable ally, compared to the UK which is and has been a very reliable ally, at least up until now.”
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Mr Biden is now poised to pick up on the trade war left to him by the Trump administration.
This will focus on certain companies that are seen to be influencing technological infrastructure and social media, as well as those complicit in human rights abuses in the country.
The President’s team has reportedly reached out to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a bid to stop Beijing from “controlling” new technology.
Beyond the EU’s China deal, looking to the continent, Mr Biden might find himself struggling to ally with future EU leaders.
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Armin Laschet, who recently took over from Angela Merkel in leading Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU), has been criticised for taking a soft line on both China and Russia.
Mr Laschet has been described as a Russlandversteher – someone who is sympathetic towards Russia and Mr Putin.
Having spent most of his career calling for the need to protect German export industries, his views fit perfectly in with the EU’s China deal.
Dominic Lawson, writing recently in day Times, said the deal highlighted Berlin’s “business first” policy, “despite calls from Biden’s people to hold off (not just because of what was happening in Xinjiang but also in Hong Kong)”.
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Meanwhile, Sean King, senior vice-president of Park Strategies in New York, told Express.co.uk that such deals should be avoided at all costs.
He said: “We (liberal democracies) need to start trading more with friends and allies that share our values and don’t intimidate their neighbours.”