Is the UK Looking to Join the USMCA or Reach Agreements?By Paloma Duran | Tue, 09/28/2021 - 08:28
After UK officials reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was looking to join the USMCA, leaders said that any changes made to a multilateral agreement between North American countries must first be approved by the three nations. In addition, the challenges of adding a new country were highlighted, for which bilateral agreements were better proposed.
According to UK officials, after negotiations to reach a bilateral agreement with the US failed, joining the USMCA was an option. During the administration of former US President Donald Trump, both governments sought to establish a trade agreement. However, it was never achieved. As a result, Johnson decided to continue seeking an agreement with US President Joe Biden. However, a bilateral agreement is not a priority for the US.
Subsequently, rumors spread that the UK wanted to join the USMCA to strengthen its trade relations and economic position. Amid rumors of adding another country to the treaty, López Obrador said that all the actors must gather first so that the proposal is discussed, in addition to verifying that it is beneficial for all nations. “It is a serious topic that we cannot jump ahead. A proper analysis is needed first.”
Last week, Mexico's Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier met with former UK Foreign Minister Liz Tuss to seek ways to strengthen relations between the countries. " We are committed to reaching a Free Trade Agreement, Mexico-United Kingdom, that strengthens our commercial and investment relationship,” Clouthier wrote on her twitter account. Meanwhile, Canadian government said it looks forward to continuing to work with its UK counterparts to reach a bilateral trade agreement that benefits its people and businesses.
According to analysts , the UK’s effort to adhere to the agreement would face great obstacles since the country has a weak position in the negotiations and will be at the mercy of the three countries, which may consider that there are no major benefits to integrating a country that is very far away. Canada's foreign affairs department and the US Trade Representative's office said they had not received requests from the UK to join the USMCA and added that the agreement does not have the mechanism to add another country.
After the announcement of UK’s plans, Max Blain, a spokesman for Johnson, said “we are still keen to agree a US-UK trade deal. For us, that remains a priority. We are focusing more on the US deal and there are no plans to go beyond that.” UK Ambassador to Mexico John Benjamin said there was a misunderstanding and highlighted the UK is looking for bilateral agreements with the three countries, but especially US.