The US elections are pointing to a win by the Democrats, who are critical about the UK’s exit from the EU. A US trade deal with Joe Biden in the White House will only work if the UK reaches a sensible Brexit deal with the EU first.
But even if we see a different outcome of the US election, putting a US deal before a comprehensive EU trade agreement does not make sense for various reasons. 51% of consumer goods in the UK are imported from the EU and imposing unnecessary trade barriers with your biggest trading partner, like expensive tariffs, is not wise.
Furthermore, 58% of foreign direct investment in the UK comes from European companies, compared with around 29% from the US. Shutting the door on European investors does not help businesses recovering from the economic problems we face next year.
There is some £640 billion of annual trade at stake. The EU is offering the UK a trade deal with tariff-free trade in goods as well as minimising barriers in service sectors. The business community hopes that a trade deal with the EU can be concluded so that at least some degree certainty returns.