With Meghit done, and now after an interminable wait Brexit done as well, the U.K. is turning to new trade agreements where necessary in order to replace those they’d been covered by while part of the E.U. Indeed, the U.K. needs a deal with the E.U. along with myriad other countries.
The former U.K. ambassador to the U.S. has been a part of discussions, and has insight into both sides of discussions. He predicts,
- The U.S. Presidential and congressional elections make it tough for the U.K. to get a U.S. trade deal this year.
- The U.K. lacks the negotiating teams to simultaneously push E.U. and U.K. deals.
- The U.S. administration is likely to push for U.K. purchases of agricultural products (because farmers supported the President) and higher drug prices.
In aviation, the U.K. wants access to U.S. domestic markets but knows for all of the U.S. rhetoric on free trade they’ll never give up this protectionism,
British Airways would love to be able to pick up passengers in London, fly them to, say, New York or Boston, and fly them on to St Louis and finish up with them in San Francisco. Are we going to get that? There is no chance the Americans are going to give us those rights to allow British carriers to break into the US domestic market, which is fantastically lucrative.
For the British, while the U.S. warns of their protectionism, questions remain about U.S. willingness to open its own markets in financial services and government procurement (including military hardware) among others.
Even if British Airways were permitted to operate U.S. domestic routes, they’d still be gate constrained at congested airports. Moreover their American Airlines joint venture makes entering the U.S. domestic market less of an imperative. They wouldn’t bring with them a new business model in any case. The country would be better served with cabotage that allowed for competition from Ryanair, Wizz Air, Emirates, and Singapore.