The deadline for the Brexit trade deal is looming. With Trump out of the White House, the future UK-US trade deal is less certain, writes Comment Central.  

Brexit has lingered for such a long time now that its meaning was almost lost in translation entirely. Hard, soft, lukewarm – for something so complex, it almost seems strange that naming it proved to be such a simple task. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to hold steadfast that the Brexit outcome will be prosperous and all in good time despite the lack of clarity of when the EU's vote on a trade deal would even be. Latest news filtering through from the EU is pointing to their vote on a Brexit trade deal being delayed until approximately December 28th. However, the news from across the pond – one that was both relieving for many but left several unanswered questions – could have major impacts on the outcome of the Brexit saga.

One side of the coin

Trump appeared to be a major ally to the Conservative Government thanks to his distinct support for Brexit and Nigel Farage, combined with a largely indifferent feeling about the potential international law Britain would have broken had they disregarded the Good Friday Agreement.

Trump also stoked the belief that a quick and easy UK-US trade deal could happen, making the EU trade agreements potentially less important overall. Biden, on the other hand, offered backing to the Irish government after the unveiling of the UK's controversial Internal Market Bill. 

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The latest political betting suggests that whatever happens if the UK leaves altogether, they wouldn't rejoin anytime soon. Chances of the UK rejoining the EU as a full member before 202 have a low 1/10 chance of not happening, with 5/1 odds for a reunification. Biden's introduction might make the need to reunify a moot point altogether, however. The positives for those hoping for EU and US deals for the UK could be buoyed up by this news. Not only will Biden fight to support a safe border for the Irish, but he's a unifying force in politics, and has been for a long time. The UK could likely feel confident of getting good trade deals with the US now they're negotiating with someone who is engaged and can listen to competing sides.

Building bridges, not walls

Joe Biden's victory was anything but smooth. The mail-in ballot votes took about a week to come in and President Trump took that time to make as much noise as possible about the veracity of the election itself. However, markets were alive with activity over the eventual, confirmed outcome. The two candidates would have major impacts on global industries. For Trump, it was a free-market approach that suited corporations just fine. For Biden, green technology, higher taxation and progressive regulations were expected to be at the forefront. Most of the world was pleased to see the moderate Biden win in the end. However, over in Downing Street, it seems unclear just what the UK Government's approach should be, given Biden's background and past comments.

Firstly, Biden is of Irish descent, which has major ramifications on his stance towards the border issues Brexit has produced. Simply put, Biden sees that a post-Brexit trade deal cannot compromise on the peace established in Northern Ireland. It's a position that supports the likelihood of an agreed deal between the EU and UK bodies, over the seemingly undesirable, no-deal Brexit.

The populations of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland currently enjoy total freedom of movement between their borders, thanks to the Good Friday Agreement. A UK exit from the EU single market hurls the same agreements Ireland has into complete disarray. Were Britain to leave, there would have to be enforced customs checks at Northern Irish ports on anything coming from Britain, to protect the initial agreements of the EU single market.

The ideal scenario, even for Johnson, is for none of that to happen. The worry is the impending time frame they're now working to. By all accounts, if Brexit is going to happen at all, the no-deal option is fading into the background. Good news for some, but the options that do remain on the table all require some serious work on the UK Government's part. The hope is that Biden can grease the wheels that bring Brexit to an end sooner rather than later.

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