Last week, I wrote on this site how a proper Brexit gives the UK an historic opportunity to re-engage with its friends in the Commonwealth. However, Brexit does not just offer a wonderful chance to re-engage with Canada and Australia and New Zealand, but with the UK’s other great friend – the United States.
The so-called “special relationship” holds an important place in my heart since I am an American anglophile.
Together, we triumphed in two World Wars – and a Cold War – against tyranny and oppression. Together, we took prosperity, free markets, democracy and the English language to every corner of the globe.
We helped establish NATO; and we – along with our Commonwealth allies – encompass the “Five Eyes” intelligence pact.
Our music and cinema are mutually enjoyed across the Atlantic and we are one family.
We have occasional disagreements, of course. Misunderstandings. Arguments. Families do. But the world would be infinitely poorer without us; and the world is infinitely better because of us.
The “Special Relationship” is not just a warm, sepia-tinted nostalgia but a reality that is alive in the rawest terms: hard cash.
America is the UK’s single largest trading partner. Unlike trade with the EU, where the UK carries a deficit, the UK runs a surplus on trade with us. Americans cannot get enough of British goods. Where I live in Texas, the retailer Central Market ran British-themed celebrations. Local shoppers loved it. So did the local economy.
The US and UK have both said they want a free trade deal between the two countries. This would eliminate tariffs, massively benefitting British exporters sending goods to America.
Unfortunately, the United Kingdom might be squandering this huge opportunity for both our countries because of Theresa May’s willingness to make the UK subservient to the EU via the so-called “Backstop”.
The Backstop, which is completely unnecessary, would make Great Britain unable to strike a free trade with the United States (nor, indeed, any of its other, historic allies). That’s why, tragically, President Trump is correct when he said that the Brexit agreement is good for the EU but bad for Britain and America.
To be honest, making the UK – the 5th largest economy in the world – beholden to the EU when the world’s largest economy, the US (which is bigger than the EU27 economies combined), wants trade with no barriers or tariffs is pretty tough to understand.
If the price of “free” trade with the EU is £39 billion and the complete surrender of its trading policy, I hope, as many Americans hope, the UK will say ‘no’.
Britain can trade with the EU on WTO terms, as it does currently with America. It can sign new and better deals around the world – perhaps most importantly, with the States.
This great opportunity for global Britain must not be allowed to slip away. Britain’s friends are waiting.
Ted Yarbrough is a lawyer based in Dallas, Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of The Daily Globe. Follow him on twitter: @TedYarbrough1