UK is pecking around for a trade deal but US will not prioritise it as partner

London likely compromised on rules and standards with NI protocol as problem

British prime minister Boris Johnson: While Donald Trump talked up the prospect of a UK-US trade deal, President Joe Biden is a lot less enthusiastic. Photograph: Michael Reynolds

British prime minister Boris Johnson: While Donald Trump talked up the prospect of a UK-US trade deal, President Joe Biden is a lot less enthusiastic. Photograph: Michael Reynolds

The UK government’s wish to negotiate trade deals with other countries after Brexit was the key reason why it said it could not agree to follow EU rules in future – and in turn the cause of much of the difficulty in implementing the Northern Ireland protocol.

But now the big prize touted during the Brexit process – a trade deal with the US – appears off the table, leaving Boris Johnson’s government casting around for what to do next. What happens will tell a lot about where UK trade policy goes after Brexit – and all the signs are of considerable confusion.

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