Diary

(updated) BREXIT: Countering Obama's Threat to Harm US-UK Trade Relations

 

Brexit-Resolution-House2a
Art Harman’s Draft Brexit Resolution

[UPDATE] Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced my bill as S.3123, the “United Kingdom Trade Continuity Act”

President Obama made a direct threat to the voters, government and industry in the United Kingdom, in order to try to defeat the “Brexit” Leave campaign. This direct and blatant interference in our special ally’s affairs is reprehensible, even though the threat likely backfired and helped the Leave campaign.

“And on that matter, for example, I think it’s fair to say that maybe some point down the line, there might be a UK-U.S. trade agreement, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon, because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done, and the UK is going to be in the back of the queue.” Joint statements with PM Cameron, April 22, 2016.

The post-election drop in the Pound and the stock markets may be in part due to Obama’s outrageous threats, and certainly the fact he did not promise to continue friendly trade relations sent a dangerous signal to the markets.

To counter Obama’s threats, I wrote the linked resolution, as well as a companion bill to counter Obama’s threats. The bill would require the president to begin bilateral trade negotiations with the UK, and would continue trade relations using existing language as with U.S.-E.U. trade in the interim. the resolution would send a loud message to the president to continue friendly trade relations and a reassuring message to the British people.

This simple solution can restore calm to markets, send the signal to the British people that the U.S. “has your back” as they declare independence from the E.U.

Already elements of my language has been included in statements of Members of Congress which received my resolution and bill, and the drafts are being circulated by the right people.

It should not be necessary for Congress to have to take action to prevent the president from initiating a trade war with our special ally, however perhaps my language will assist the process.