New trade wars – opportunity or threat?
By now most people will be aware of the new trade sanctions imposed by the US government. This has led to reprisals from Canada and Mexico. The EU is also considering a response but as with all things EU it might take many months to reach an agreed response. It’s easy to jump on the growing bandwagon critising US President Trump for his stance but is that justified? He is surely only doing what every good leader should do and look after its citizens, protect trade and jobs. The criticism would be perhaps better levelled at his method and delivery rather than the aspiration. Perhaps with a little better guidance he could have achieved his aims without the conflict which now seems inevitable.
So what of Britain’s role in this unfolding situation? The UK is in a unique position, being one of the world’s largest trading nations and being currently in Europe. It is of course also on the brink of leaving the EU to go its independent way. There is also the matter of its relationship with the US which is long standing fortified by current incumbent of the White House having very strong family ties to the UK.
A trade war is not in the interest of any trading nation including the USA, China and the UK. The UK however can play a key role in deflating the current situation and if it so chooses could be a significant player in resolving the current situation if it so wishes. The question is does the UK have the resolve to intervene and if so will it do so. Teresa May perhaps does not have the closest personal relationship with Donald Trump but some of her aides namely Boris Johnson and Liam Fox could play pivotal roles. President Trump is no fool and has clear and strong conviction on where he wishes to take his country. The current confrontational approach adopted by many countries (including the UK) is unhelpful and un-productive. It requires politicians of stature and vision to work with the US president to guide him in the best way to achieve his goals and at the same time avoid a disastrous trade war where the biggest loser will be the US itself.
By choosing to play a key active role the UK and win many friends throughout the world which can only enhance its trading position. Our hope is that our politicians will have the vision and courage to do so and we will not look back on a real opportunity missed.