May is keen to open negotiations with team Trump over a new trade deal that can be brought into place after Britain leaves the European Union. Ahead of opening talks with Brussels over Brexit, she needs to have a green light that a UK-US trade deal could be in place by the time the UK has left the EU.
"I am delighted that the new administration has made a trade agreement between our countries one of its earliest priorities. A new trade deal between Britain and America must work for both sides and serve both of our national interests. It must help to grow our respective economies and to provide the high-skilled, high-paid jobs of the future for working people across America and across the UK," she told the Republican Party in Philadelphia, January 26.
We have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to renew the special relationship for this new age. pic.twitter.com/vvOMAtPyvZ— Theresa May (@theresa_may) January 27, 2017
With Trump having ripped up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement — a trade deal between the US and eleven Pacific rim nations — the controversial proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) appears to be dead in the water. If Britain can become the first to do a separate, bilateral deal with the US, its negotiating position over Brexit will gain strength.
However, the deal has been blasted by campaigners who believe that Trump's "America First" agenda will mean that any such deal would work only in favor of the US.
"A US-UK trade deal cooked up by Theresa May and Donald Trump should ring very loud alarm bells. For starters, Trump is unequivocal that he will only make trade deals that put the US first, while May is desperate to ink anything to show that the UK has a trading future outside the European single market," Nick Dearden the director of Global Justice Now told Sputnik.
Theresa is desperate,— Global Justice Now (@GlobalJusticeUK) 26 January 2017
And Trump won’t respect her,
The trade deal they’re planning,
Will screw our health sector.#PoemsAboutTrumpAndMay
"That power imbalance means May is likely to concede all manner of ground to Trump for the sake of trying to shore up her own political credibility — and those concessions will carry a heavy price for British citizens," he said.
During the TTIP negotiations, a major divisive issue was EU food and farming regulations, which prevent the sort of high-intensity, high-chemical, low-animal welfare farming common in the US. Beef and pork are produced using growth hormones, in the US, chicken is washed in chlorine, fruit and vegetables are treated with endocrine-disrupting pesticides and genetically engineered and modified foods are all allowed.
Modern trade agreements are increasingly not about tariffs — we have low tariffs with the US anyway — but making sure laws and regulations don't obstruct the free flow of capital. These 'obstructions' are likely to include public services like the [UK National Health Service], labor rights, consumer standards and environmental protection," Dearden told Sputnik.
Theresa May's appeasement of #Trump will not be looked on kindly by history.— Nick Dearden (@nickdearden75) January 27, 2017
"The rise of Trump and right-wing populism across Europe have been fueled by our broken economic system, which puts the demands of the '1%' ahead of the rights and needs of the vast majority of humanity. A US-UK trade deal between May and Trump would likely deepen this inequality, rather than foster the sort of economic policies that could combat poverty, inequality and climate change," he said.