President Donald Trump tweeted this week that he is “working on major Trade Deal with the United Kingdom. Could be very big & exciting. JOBS!” Our Commander in Chief, employing his ever-fascinating penchant for sentence structure, seems to have spoken too soon. Not that we’re particularly surprised.
Regardless of the fact that a positive relationship with the U.K. would make him look better (at a time when he desperately needs a strengthened international image), no promising deals with Britain are on the near horizon. The reasons for Trump’s faux-pas are several, but the most major one is the U.K.’s current relationship with the European Union. The island nation voted to leave the sizeable bloc last year (in a controversial move dubbed “Brexit”), but the terms of this decision have not yet been finalized, so Britain technically remains a member for at least the next few months.
Put simply, this means that it is unclear how strong the U.K.’s trade ties will be with mainland Europe, so our friends across the pond are currently unsure how much they are willing to budget for increased trade with the U.S. In other words, Trump jumped the gun.
Another reason for the Donald tweeting so inaccurately is the role of chicken. Yes, you read that right. In America, poultry farmers utilize chlorine to clean chickens once they have been slaughtered and de-feathered in order to sterilize them and prepare them for sale. However, Europe on the whole does not partake in that practice. Commercial and environmental officials in the U.K. tend to view it as a “shortcut” allowing American farmers to focus less on cleanliness and just to leave it to the chemicals.
Buzzfeed has published a story on this; see here for more: https://www.buzzfeed.com/venessawong/brexit-trade-deal-could-bring-chlorine-dipped-chicken?utm_term=.vcdadvKjm#.adMKBlPE1
This may not look like much of an issue on first glance, but when you consider this “dirty chicken” issue as a synecdoche for the nuances of the intersection between trade and culture of which Trump remains fairly unaware. This much we know: Trump did not know enough to send that Tweet, and he is bound to be disappointed when reality sets in regarding his relationship with the U.K. (which, by the way, is generally not fond of him). And those nuances – the “little chickens” of international trade – tend to add up in dollars and pounds.