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7/2/16

Britain: Is US-UK Trade Bill Now In US Congress, One Week After Brexit Legal?

Despite claims that the US would banish Britain to the “back of the queue” if it dared to leave the European Union, Congress is already considering measures to boost trade with the UK.

A bill to lock down current trading arrangements, and fire the starting gun on a bilateral deal, was introduced to the US Senate yesterday.

The United Kingdom Trade Continuity Act mandates the US to keep trading on exactly the same terms after Britain leaves the EU.

It also urges the President to start fast-track talks with the UK, with the aim of concluding a bilateral trade deal in just one year.\

The bill was introduced by senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), who said strengthening the so-called special relationship is in the interest of both nations.

It comes after a string of nations made positive noises about stepping up UK trade within days of it ditching the EU, which removes the ability of member states to strike their own deals.

The crucial section of the bill reads: “Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President should initiate negotiations with the United Kingdom with the goal of reaching a final comprehensive bilateral trade agreement by the date that is one year after such date of enactment; and the President should make every effort to negotiate such an agreement expeditiously.”

While the bill has no power to compel the President to do anything, it would be a strong sign that the US prioritizes closer economic relations with the UK.

In a statement on the bill, Senator Lee said: “Our nation’s special relationship with the United Kingdom has promoted economic prosperity and security in both countries for over a hundred years.

The legality of the bill, however, is questionable, since Britain has not yet formally put EU article 50 up for implementation, and is consequently still tied to EU laws, which does not allow member states of the EU to instigate their own trade negotiations.

EU-Digest 

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