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Brexit Insight From the US

While US policymakers are eager to set out trade relations with the UK post-Brexit, the UK cannot begin its own bilateral talks with trading partners until it has formally exited the EU, as the bloc has exclusive competence over trade matters.

Furthermore, the final form of the UK-EU trade relationship will inform how other trade agreements are structured, including a trade agreement with the US. If the UK opts, colloquially speaking, to remain in the EU’s Customs Union, its negotiations with the US would be limited to those areas outside the scope of the union. But in a “no-deal” Brexit, or with changes to the current deal on the Irish border issue, the UK would not be part of the EU’s Customs Union, allowing it to negotiate with greater freedom with new trading partners.

President Trump officials have laid the groundwork to begin talks as soon as possible. On 16 October 2018, they notified the US Congress of President Trump’s intent to begin trade negotiations with the UK, in accordance with domestic law governing the consideration of trade agreements, Trade Promotion Authority. Many are optimistic that US-UK trade talks could progress more smoothly than US-EU negotiations because of the historical relationship between the two countries. But if the UK chooses to align its regulatory structures with the EU, many of the same challenges could arise.

US congressional leaders have generally voiced strong support for a US-UK trade agreement, and will be active participants as talks get underway in the coming months. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently threatened that if the Good Friday accords are put in jeopardy because of Brexit, “…there will be no chance of a US-UK agreement”.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 120


About this Author

Frank Samolis, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm, International Trade Attorney

Frank Samolis is co-chair of our International Trade Practice. He advises clients on international trade matters, including trade law, trade policy and legislation, and international trade negotiations. He is also chair of our India Practice Group and the leader of our Colombia Desk, Latin America Task Force.

Frank handles matters before the Office of the US Trade Representative, other Executive Branch Trade agencies, the US International Trade Commission, US Court of International Trade, US Customs Service and the US Congress. Frank has represented foreign sovereigns or foreign...

Ludmilla Kasulke International Trade Attorney

Ludmilla (Milla) Kasulke draws on her experience in both domestic and international policy to assist clients on trade matters. Milla provides multinational corporations, sovereign governments and entities, and quasi-government entities with advice on a wide range of trade policy, legal, and regulatory issues. She has been actively engaged in all aspects of the Section 232 process, including the exclusion petition process, and regularly advises clients on the impacts of current and potential new actions. Milla also regularly counsels clients on the impacts of current and potential new trade negotiations, including the US-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) and US-Japan and -EU talks.

Prior to law school, Milla was the special assistant to the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she gained first-hand experience in the daily operations of the executive branch. While at the council, she worked closely with the chairman and his team of policy advisors in the development and management of significant administration policies and programs, such as the Major Economies Meetings on Energy Security and Climate Change.

While in law school, Milla served as the assistant to former White House Counsel and former US Ambassador to the European Union C. Boyden Gray. She was elected as a vice president on the executive board of the Student Bar Association, where she represented part-time student interests. Additionally, she was an active member of the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy staff, where she served as a symposium director.