What do the British think of the United States?

The British are concerned about consumer protection

When Donald Trump was on a visit to London last year, the US President praised "the most important alliance the world has ever seen". Once again it was about the "special relationship" often invoked by the British, the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the USA. But despite the flowery words and superlatives, the relationship between the two countries has suffered badly in recent years.

Since Donald Trump was in the White House, the ties have been looser than ever. Although the US President and Prime Minister Boris Johnson seem to get along better than the President and Johnson's predecessor Theresa May, things are not looking really rosy - which is particularly difficult for Great Britain. Because for several weeks, both sides have been negotiating a free trade agreement. The Brexit hardliners should actually celebrate, they always prefer to cross the Atlantic Ocean than the English Channel. Countless times they promised that an agreement would be reached quickly, which would then only serve British interests. But so far there have been no cheers.

And that's not just because Downing Street has basically given up hope of a deal by the US election in November. The topics are complex and the positions are often far apart. Here the kingdom that advocates free trade and globalization, there the protectionist Trump. Once again, reality is destroying the ideologically inspired fantasies of the Eurosceptics. The British hope for better conditions for exporting cars, ceramics, whiskey and cheese. By exchanging smoked salmon from Scotland for Stetson hats, you would offer consumers lower prices and more choice, Johnson had announced. And he added that he wanted to negotiate tough with the United States.

The announcements from London are a reminder of the often exaggerated promises made when negotiating a deal with the EU. As if the whole world was just waiting to do business with Britain. The British government's words sound naive at best. In Washington, the negotiators know they are in a much better position simply because of size, strength and experience. Washington is primarily aiming for full access to US agricultural products as well as lowering UK tariffs on US exports. The question is, will the government in London withstand massive pressure from Washington?

There is already fear on the island that chlorine-washed chickens and meat from hormone-treated cattle will soon be sold. Farmers as well as concerned citizens are right to sound the alarm. Will the US backtrack on this point? Unlikely, as the dispute with the EU over the failed TTIP trade agreement has shown. However, the UK would be ill advised to soften its own consumer protection standards after Brexit.

On the one hand, it is about people's health; on the other hand, London would then have to cope with massive economic losses. In the negotiations, the EU insists that its rules are adhered to even after the end of the transition period on December 31st. Another thing that upsets the British is that Americans are keeping an eye on the national health service. The NHS is the holy cow on the island. The very idea of ​​having to open this up for US pharmaceutical manufacturers is causing a stir. Trade Minister Liz Truss quickly assured that negotiations would be broken off if red lines were crossed.

Only: the British need an agreement. The USA is - albeit by far - the UK's second largest trading partner after the EU. The problem: even a good deal could not even begin to make up for the negative consequences of Brexit.