During the 2016 referendum campaign, senior campaign officials promised a trade deal between the UK and the US, one of the main prices of Brexit. That is now the stated objective of the British government, which consulted in 2018 on the parameters of an agreement. For the first time since his election, Biden also said he was committed to bringing the United States and Iran back to the 2015 nuclear deal before attempting to negotiate an update or extension of the agreement. Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2018 and imposed heavy economic sanctions. Iran responded by easing its obligations under the agreement on enriched uranium stockpiles, but continued UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. However, the BBC believes that the USTR directly informed the Secretary of Commerce in a telephone call that the US would not consider this a concession, since the UK has “no power” outside the EU to continue to retaliate against the US. An important aspect of TTIP was “regulatory cooperation,” in which European and US regulators would work together to review and harmonize rules within the EU and the US. Similar provisions are contained in CETA, a trade agreement between the EU and Canada, which establishes a “Regulatory Cooperation Council” to review and propose regulations. One concern is that these councils do not have the democratic oversight given to public authorities that normally adopt rules. A second similar concern is that such advice could be strongly influenced by private sector interests, not least because it is made up of trade officials and not experts in areas such as health or the environment.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, there are good reasons to separate the rules from the framework of a trade agreement. Since the legal and political objective of a trade agreement is to increase trade, it is likely that attempts at regulatory cooperation will assess the rules exclusively, or at least in the first place, on the basis of their contribution to the global level of trade. This is an extremely narrow way of assessing regulations that should be considered to the extent that they achieve their social and environmental objectives. One-third of NAFTA`s trade is concentrated in the automotive, energy and agriculture sectors, which are hard hit by the current economic crisis.