In his words to us over here in order to support David Cameron’s wish for us to stay in the EU, Barack Obama has been less than honest when he spoke here yesterday. It is not that he was out-and-out dishonest — but just that he was speaking evasively of a situation which is far from being decided yet.
He was speaking of the Transatlantic Trade and investment Partnership (TTIP), presently being negotiated between the US and the EU and very far from being finalised yet. Such are the tariffs and regulatory standards to be negotiated between the products of 28 different European countries that the estimated four years of talk are now expected to last for another five or six according to some observers.
Obama said that if Britain were to take to Brexit route out of the EU on 23 June then any US-UK trade negotiations would have to wait until TTIP’s were complete. We would have to go to “the back of the queue” to use his words. What nonsense! If one of our labs produces an innovation that an American business badly wants to use, don’t the US and the UK have enough experienced civil servants that a separate agreement can’t be negotiated simultaneously? And promptly, too!