With Theresa May set to meet Donald Trump in Washington DC today, we asked two business leaders to decide – will Trump be good for British business?
YES Sammy Blindell
Founder of How to Build a Brand
President Trump has said that he wants to “put America first”. At first glance, this might seem like a downside for the UK, but think of it this way: in the future, Britain will be in a position to pursue its own trade policies, and Trump will be looking for the most forward-thinking ideas and lucrative international deals he can find. Is there any doubt that the UK has unrivalled innovation and opportunity to offer the US? I think both countries will be pleasantly surprised. President Obama told the UK it would go “to the back of the queue” for a trade deal if it left the EU, but Trump has already indicated that he is keen to make a “quick deal” with us. Couple this with his stated support for Brexit, which he recently described as “a great thing”, and his track record of doing business in nations who contribute to the global economy without making waves, and the prospects look bright for trade. Trump wants to build the “strongest economy in the world”. Now we can feel confident that trade relations between the US and the UK will be robust, it is safe to say that Americans aren’t the only ones who will benefit. He has vowed to maintain the good relationships already in place between the US and other countries and he has no reason to damage the dynamic with the UK.
Sammy Blindell is a member of IoD Yorkshire
NO Jeremy Waud
Chairman of Incentive FM Group
On balance, I think the Trump presidency will provide more challenges than opportunities for UK businesses. He has set out his stall in an entirely new, and perhaps more businesslike manner, not in the way politicians of recent times have done. His policies are very parochial; his stance on China is aggressive; and his relationship with Russia is currently, at best, unclear. Rex Tillerson is being very cosy with the Russians and the potential for joint oil exploration in the Arctic could be the motivation for Putin and Trump. None of this is good news for us. The key issue is that the US is the largest export market for Britain, at over £40bn per annum. Trump is hell-bent on rebuilding industry in the US by creating 25 million new jobs and becoming less reliant on imports. His focus is on the US economy and potential threats from China and Russia, certainly not on trade relations with the UK. His clampdown on Chinese industrial piracy will benefit US manufacturers ahead of any other and his investment in military rearmament and, in particular, the navy is unlikely to provide a boost for our economy, as he will source US-based contractors. Finally, his proposed import tax of 20 per cent across the board for all goods into the US will hurt us considerably.
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