Donald Trump sends mixed messages on US-UK trade deal (FT)

  • The US president, on the second day of a UK state visit, claimed that transatlantic trade between the two countries could be “two and even three times what we’re doing now” after Brexit, but made it clear that it would involve painful choices for Britain. “Everything will be on the table — the NHS, everything,” Mr Trump said at a joint conference with UK prime minister Theresa May.
  • However, in a later interview with Piers Morgan for ITV, Trump appeared to back down on this. “I don’t see it being on the table,” he said. “Somebody asked me a question today and I say everything is up for negotiation, because everything is but I don’t see that being . . . that’s something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade.”
  • The idea of opening up the taxpayer-funded NHS to more US medical companies (the health service already buys in some capabilities from the private sector, including US groups), is highly controversial in Britain.

Rory Stewart: Tory leadership hopeful says competitors’ new deal claims are “misleading” (BBC, BBC, FT)

  • Tory leadership candidate, Rory Stewart, says his competitors’ claims they could negotiate a new Brexit deal before 31 October are “misleading“. Stewart therefore argues that Theresa May’s failed Brexit deal is the only way to end the impasse over the country’s departure from the EU.
  • Some candidates say they can agree a new plan by the deadline, but Rory Stewart said there was “not a hope“.
  • It follows Boris Johnson’s warning that the Conservatives face “potential extinction” if the UK doesn’t leave the EU by the end of October.
  • International Development Secretary, Mr Stewart, said that anyone promising to renegotiate by October was effectively committing to leaving without a deal because it was impossible.
  • The EU has consistently said it is not willing to re-open the current withdrawal agreement negotiated between the bloc and Mrs May, despite it being voted down by MPs three times.

Vestager unmoved by UK’s plea for no-deal competition fix, Tyrie says (MLex)

  • The UK antitrust regulator failed in its appeal to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager to carry on sharing information in a no-deal Brexit, its chairman Andrew Tyrie told lawmakers today.
  • The situation risks gaps in enforcement, at a time when the Competition and Market Authority’s workload is likely to balloon.
  • The CMA would need to divert up to 200 staff to major merger and antitrust probes immediately after a no-deal exit, Tyrie said, as the UK regulator picks up major cases currently handled in Brussels. The authority has also been recruiting heavily.
  • The UK government has awarded the CMA an additional 20 million pounds ($25.5 million) for Brexit preparation, but Tyrie said the body needs permission from the UK Treasury to hike salaries. He urged the lawmakers on the BEIS committee to support his call.