Getting to be a heavyweight boxing champion takes many years of training, a top coach and clear rules of engagement. Talent may well be the least of it.
The UK is sadly bereft of all of these as it bravely makes its way in a world where the boxing ring is riven with cracks and the ropes are frayed and broken. Trade giants of the likes of Peter Sutherland and Pascal Lamy built the global trade structure brick by brick, compromise by comprise, backed most notably and most crucially by the US.
But President Donald Trump’s disdain for traditional allies and alliances extends to the World Trade Organisation and its carefully wrought rules, which are in any case due for modernisation in a services and digital centred world. The application of unilateral tariffs on China, leading to an exchange of tit-for-tat, is not the worst of it. Rather, it is taking the fight outside the ring, as Mr Trump did by pressuring Canada to arrest the CFO of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, or blackmailing Mexico with a progressive 5% tariff on exports if it did not do more to curb illegal immigrants from Central America.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week held out the exciting prospect of a trade deal with the US in 2020. Here are six home truths on global trade which he might wish to share with the nation.Read More