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Will Trump have a new year present for Scotland?

January 6, 2021
Insight

Speculation has mounted over the Christmas period that the Trump administration might agree a mini-trade deal with the UK before he leaves office on 20 January 2021.

The UK has announced an end to tariffs on the US airline company Boeing, and the wider disputes concerning Boeing and the European manufacturer Airbus will now play out between the the EU and the US.

The post-Brexit environment could see a mini-deal in which US tariffs on key Scottish industries, notably whisky and woollen products, might be removed. Such a deal would improve the atmosphere surrounding the broader negotiations for a comprehensive UK-US trade agreement, although this may slip down the Washington agenda when the Biden administration takes over.

For the half-Scottish President Trump, a quick-win interim agreement on tariff removal might serve as a supportive gesture to the UK following Brexit, as well as boosting Scottish business at a time when Trump is seeking to enlarge his Turnberry golf development in Aberdeenshire.

The UK no longer benefits from EU trade deals but the UK has already entered into its own agreements with the vast majority of countries with which the EU had deals. Trade discussions between the EU and US have been notoriously difficult and a bilateral UK-US agreement might represent the single biggest opportunity arising from Brexit.

Time is tight to close a mini-deal before Trump leaves office but, as the Christmas Eve agreement with the EU demonstrates, these negotiations often take until five to midnight and the affected sectors in Scotland and elsewhere will be monitoring developments closely over the next couple of weeks.

If you would like to discuss any corporate issues that your business might be facing, please contact the head of corporate desk Tony Roberts on 07384 393 040 or at tony.roberts@ilaw.co.uk.

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