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A Truly Special Relationship: The Time Is Now for a U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement

Kim R. Holmes
Reuters

Kim R. Holmes

Security, Asia

The British-American trade pact should set a new global standard: the only acceptable level of tariffs is zero.

A Truly Special Relationship: The Time Is Now for a U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement

President Donald Trump and outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May recently reiterated their desire to reach an “ambitious” free-trade agreement when Britain leaves the European Union.

To that I can add only: Faster, please. The goal should be to have a U.S.-UK trade pact ready for approval as quickly as possible.

We would almost certainly have had a free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom today, had Britain had not joined the European Economic Community in 1973. After all, the United States has free-trade agreements with nations as varied as Jordan, Australia, and Colombia. So why not the United Kingdom? The European Union has stymied U.S. free trade with Britain for forty-six years because it controls foreign trade relations for all members, including Britain.

Once the United Kingdom exits the EU, that restriction ends. We should be ready to take advantage of this huge new opportunity to boost both of our economies.

Here is what a truly “ambitious” free-trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom should look like.

Tariffs on trade between the United States and Britain are already generally low. But the best level of tariffs is no tariffs at all. All too often, trade agreements try to manage trade rather than free it. Instead of reducing government control of trade, they lock it in. The British-American trade pact should set a new global standard: the only acceptable level of tariffs is zero.

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