My final comments on Obama visit.
President Obama’s recent intervention in the British Referendum debate, threatening that the UK would be “at the back of the queue” for a US/UK trade deal, should be treated with the contempt it deserves. It is quite improper for a foreign Head of State to interfere in this way. It is also not credible. There are several key points to be made.
First of all, Obama is a lame duck President in the final year of his second term. While Hilary Clinton might take a similar view to Obama, many Republicans would not.
Secondly, neither the EU nor the UK has a USA trade deal today, so an independent UK would be in exactly the same position with regard to US trade as it (and other EU member states) are today. Yes, there is an EU/US trade deal (TTIP) currently under negotiation, but it is highly controversial. Both the timing and the outcome are extremely uncertain.
The UK joined the Common Market in 1973, and has been unable to make independent trade deals since then. In my view, we should have had a free trade deal with the USA decades ago had we not been in the EU.
Thirdly, trade deals are about mutual benefit. A good trade deal is beneficial to both parties. It is a win-win deal which in this case would benefit the USA as well as the UK. President Obama has been criticised for following the worst examples of EU policy, and in seeking to use the offer (or denial) of a free trade deal as a a diplomatic lever for a political objective, he is doing so again.
The UK is a major trading partner of the USA. In threatening to withhold a UK/USA trade deal for political reasons, Obama is in effect threatening to disadvantage the very country he represents. This is why his threatnis not credible.
This is a deliberate and impudent attempt at blackmail which should be dismissed accordingly.
Roger Helmer MEP