03:50 GMT17 January 2021
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    The news comes as newly appointed Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, travels to meet his American, Canadian and Mexican counterparts to negotiate a post-Brexit trade agreement.

    Former US treasury secretary to US presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Larry Summers, said that did not believe that the United Kingdom would secure a trade with the United States after Brexit, slamming the move as “desperate”.

    Mr Summers told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the UK was in a weak position when in talks with trade partners, adding that the UK had “no leverage” and was “desperate”.

    He said: “Britain has no leverage, Britain is desperate … it needs an agreement very soon. When you have a desperate partner, that’s when you strike the hardest bargain.”

    Speaking on previous hints that US president Donald Trump was open to an agreement, Mr Summers said that the UK had “economic conflict with China” and that the “deterioration of the pound is going to further complicate the negotiating picture”.

    “We will see it as giving Britain an artificial comparative advantage and make us think about the need to retaliate against Britain, not to welcome Britain with new trade agreements,” he said.

    He added that The UK had “much less to give than Europe as a whole”, giving the US “less reason” to offer concessions.

    “You make more concessions dealing with a wealthy man than you do dealing with a poor man,” he said.

    Mr Raab noted that Asian officials he had met in Thailand last week showed a “consistent warmth” for the UK and “desire to work more closely with us”. Ian Duncan Smith, the Conservative Party’s former leader, slammed Mr Summers for his remarks, stating that it was a “classic attempt” to “use Brexit for domestic point-scoring".

    “Forty-five Republican senators have signed a letter to the prime minister pledging to back a trade deal with Britain once we have left the EU,” Sir Smith said. “The president (Donald Trump) himself has expressed his enthusiasm for a UK-US deal.”

    US senator Tom Cotton also said that the UK should be at the “front of the queue” for a trade deal, adding that “it might be months” before reaching such an agreement, “but I would suspect it would be months not years”.

    But some have said that trade deals between the US and UK would undermine environmental, safety and food standards, as well as threatening privatisating the UK National Health Services (NHS) by giving US corporations free reign to NHS supply contracts, which President Trump hinted during his trip to the UK in June this year, which he later recanted following massive backlash on his comments.

    The latest developments come after Trump had confirmed talks with UK prime minister Boris Johnson, stating that the two would work on a post-Brexit trade deal and “spend a lot of [time together]”. But protests from several congresspeople have threatened such talks after they vowed the vote down trade deals if the UK failed to prevent a hard border on the Irish island, stating it would harm the Good Friday agreement 1998. The White House has also threatened to scrap trade talks if the UK did not scupper taxes on US tech giants such as Google and Amazon. Despite Mr Johnson’s statements in 2017 that the UK must not become a “vassal state” of the EU, the UK has pressed forward with deepening ties to the US to make up for its trade shortfalls.


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