Trade triangle: U.S., Britain, and European Union



Emilio Casalicchio | Politico

LONDON — London wants to make Brussels jealous by flirting with Washington on trade — but the U.K. may yet find it’s the one being led on.

The second round of talks between the U.K. and U.S. kicks off Monday, with Britain clear that one attraction is the hope parallel talks with America would pile pressure on the EU in discussions about a post-Brexit trade deal.

Some, including senior figures in the U.K. government, hope the threat of diverting British trade elsewhere and moving away from the EU regulatory orbit will provide leverage over Brussels’ red lines. As former Brexit Secretary David Davis put it, the U.S. talks will be “psychologically very useful” for Britain to convince the EU it is no “supplicant” and could walk away and go elsewhere.

Former U.K. trade adviser Shanker Singham said London can pressure Brussels in a “game theory” triangle with the U.S. and EU. He said supply chains will “rapidly reorient” away from EU markets to other nations if Brexit talks fail, while the EU will worry about Britain pulling away from its standards regime on key areas like agriculture.

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