On services it would mean co-operation over technical (normally meaning regulatory) barriers to trade under World Trade Organisation (WTO) guidelines, but through voluntary cooperation not EU-style harmonisation, diktats and fines. It should streamline customs procedures and make them more efficient too. There would be measures too to aid Cross-border trade in services.
On the arguably most controversial aspect – of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures on plant and animal foodstuffs, the recommendation is not to change current UK standards, thereby not allowing chlorine chicken, hormone beef or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into the UK market, but to review this on the basis of scientific analysis and proper debate after five years.
Financial services would be an essential clause, enabling financial institutions and investors in the UK and the US to benefit even more from fair, equal access to each other’s markets. On the related Investment and Investor Dispute Settlement side the deal would avoid the pitfalls of ISDS which helped kill the US-EU TTIP deal, but to embrace a common new English law style mechanism based on one third US, one third British and one third independent adjudicators.
There would be strictly controlled Mode 4 temporary business visa entry which is not free movement, but provides legal certainty for trained workers, who temporarily enter the UK or the United States to do business. On workers too there would be mutual recognition of professional qualifications, which is a key part of the CETA deal. This would allow the UK to attract more well qualified US professionals to the UK, making up for some EU medical staff who choose to leave the UK. There would be an E-commerce clause which ensures personal information on the internet is protected and online services are spared customs duties.
Other aspects would include a Rules of Origin agreement to set out clearly what counts as having been made in the UK or made in the USA, particularly where there is a complex component supply chain. A State Owned Enterprises rule would ensure both parties have the full freedom of choice in the way they provide public services to their citizens. Whilst requiring a separate bilateral aviation agreement, the report argues for retention of the benefits of the incomplete US-EU “Open Skies” transport access agreement but to improve on this.
Finally on the short-term front, relevant Common Tax Reform – cooperation over where companies levy profits and where they sell products in order to address anomalies and to encourage the easier repatriation of profits to both jurisdictions.
The longer term agreement would build on this initial deal over a longer time period, and may contain clauses such as: Subsidies; Competition policy; Telecommunications; Domestic regulation; Intellectual Property (IP); International maritime transport services; Administrative and institutional Provisions; and Bilateral dialogues and cooperation.
Whilst focused on the trade aspects there is a political aspect possible to build on our strong bonds. Just as Canada has a separate “Strategic Partnership Agreement” now with the EU, and as Britain could with the EU, so an SPA could be be negotiated between the US and UK to cement many of the institutional arrangements such as a US-UK Joint Ministerial Committee to turn the UK into a “Transatlantic Bridge” between the USA and the EU via Britain.
In short a US-UK trade deal is rich in potential, is a natural addition to the well-established “Special Relationship” and could be delivered in just 180 days of pressing the button.
April 4th, 2017: Telegraph