Kemi Badenoch Put On The Spot Over Failure To Sign US-UK Free Trade Deal

"So, it was a promise then that you were never going to be able to keep?"
Kemi Badenoch
Kemi Badenoch

Business secretary Kemi Badenoch was put on the spot on Sunday morning over the failure of the government to secure a free trade deal with United States, as had been promised by many Brexiteers.

In an interview with the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, Badenoch was repeatedly pressed on the topic.

“There is no sign of that American trade deal that is promised,” Kuenssberg said.

“That Brexit promise of a sort of buccaneering Britain massively benefiting from trading around the world, that just has not come to pass has it?”

Badenoch said the lack of a trade deal with the US was because of the “change of administration” from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

“We can’t force other countries to do things that are different from what they want to do,” she said.

Kuenssberg pressed: “But that was a promise that was made to British voters.”

Badenoch said: “That was an agreement that was had with the previous president. You cannot force countries to join free trade agreements.”

Kuenssberg added: “So, it was a promise then that you were never going to be able to keep?”

A free trade deal with the US was one of the main selling points for Brexiteers in the run-up to the 2016 referendum.

But Liz Truss finally admitted in September last year - during her short time as prime minister - that it was not going to happen any time soon.

Rishi Sunak also conceded on a trip to Washington in June that an agreement was no longer “a priority” for either side.

Badenoch was speaking to the programme from New Zealand signed the UK up to the the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The trade zone of around 500 million people includes Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Badenoch hailed the agreement as having “so much potential” as “the world is our oyster”.

But the government’s own assessment of the deal suggests it could add only 0.08% to the size of the UK’s economy in 10 years.


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