The UK once again rejected a European Union proposal on Tuesday of seeking negotiations again on the draft legal texts of a possible post-Brexit trade agreement.
The failure of the world’s largest trading bloc (EU) and sixth richest economy (UK) to reach a $900 billion deal in annual trade by year’s end will create shock waves across Europe, just as the coronavirus affected jobs and businesses.
Outraged by the EU’s demand for concessions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson cut the talks last week and said it is time to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. What Johnson is taking the risk of is a nightmare scenario for the business world.
Trying to get the talks back on track, Michel Barnier, EU chief negotiator, proposed Monday to intensify the negotiations and start discussions on the legal texts of a draft agreement.
But there was rejection from the British side. “Until you make it very clear that you are willing to negotiate with us as an equal, as a sovereign, then there’s no point simply just paying lip service, saying you know ‘we’ll intensify negotiations,” said Nadhim Zahawi, the deputy trade minister of the Johnson cabinet, in an interview with SKY News.
“They got what they wanted — intensified talks, on legal texts, on multiple areas … Now, they are just faffing around,” an EU diplomat told Reuters.
Russia said on Tuesday that it is ready to mutually freeze nuclear warheads for a year to extend talks on the New START nuclear agreement with the United States.
The new START agreement was signed in 2010, it will expire in February 2021. This is the last agreement that limits the strategic nuclear arsenals of the two countries. And the negotiations to extend it have come to a deadlock due to US demands for including China in the deal.
Last week, the United States rejected Russia’s idea of extending the agreement for one year unconditionally, saying that such a proposal, which does not envisage the freezing of all nuclear warheads was a “non-starter”.
US stimulus talks
Stimulus talks in the US are facing a narrowing window of time for a deal. With less than three weeks before the election, the dispute between the Trump White House and the Democrats in Congress over the size of the aid package continues.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin spoke again yesterday and yet again failed to reach a compromise. The two will talk again today.
Trump says he is ready to go even bigger with his proposal to impress the voters as he faces Biden, and attributes the failure of the talks to Pelosi’s political games.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated on Tuesday that they would not accept Trump’s larger offer. In an interview with Fox, Trump stated that what he wanted from McConnell was his support.
The weight of not having a stimulus package in stock exchanges has started to be felt. But some investors still remain hopeful, as a Biden victory could mean a massive fresh package.
On the developing Trump-Republican conundrum
On October 9, some little friction broke out between Trump and Senate Republicans over the stimulus package offers. This friction has allowed some Congressional Republicans, encouraged by Trump’s bad poll performance, to put more distance between themselves and Trump.
“I highly doubt we’ll see a stimulus package,” Florida Republican Senator Cruz said on Tuesday.
The Senate Republicans in question are trying to preserve their seats in elections to be held in several states. Nebraska’s Senator Ben Sasse, unfurled the flag, saying “I’m not on the Trump train” and thus bracing Trump’s insulting Twitter attacks. Even Lindsey Graham of South Carolina admitted last week that the Senate elections could be a bloodbath for the Republican Party.
The majority in the Senate are now Republicans: 53–47. But a possible wave of democratic voters threatens this majority.
A Trump defeat is set to create a collapse that could last years in the Republican Party, and let the democrats to control both the executive (White House) and legislative (the House of Representatives and the Senate) branches of the government.