America is not in the business of handing out presents in trade deals

First published: The Times, 3/08/2017

The trade war cacophony in the rhetoric emanating from the White House this year has, thankfully, faded to a soft rumble. Yet the Trump administration’s volatility and petulance, and its search for distractions, warn us not to be complacent. The trade stand-off against China will not last and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with Canada and Mexico is about to start. The UK government and President Trump may be cheerleading a post-Brexit US trade deal, but the devil will be in the largely one-sided politics in America’s favour….Read more:


Posted in United States Tagged with: , ,

The European economy is stealing a march on us—quelle surprise!

First published:, 1/08/2017

Posted in Europe + UK Tagged with: ,

Brexit: more business, less Dunkirk please

25th July 2017

(Originally published by Prospect Magazine, 24th July 2017)

It was inevitable. The release of Christopher’s Nolan’s new film Dunkirk has spurred the supporters of Brexit in parliament and the media to hijack the bravery and spirit of that time in support of their cause. They forget that Winston Churchill told the House of Commons in June 1940 that “Wars are not won by evacuations,” and that the whole episode represented a “colossal military disaster” (except, he was at pains to point out, for the RAF). They mischievously conflate the avoidance of national humiliation—and a lot worse—that might have been imposed by Nazi Germany with the national humiliation imposed by their own strategy to withdraw from the EU. Nevertheless, if one of the messages from Dunkirk is that people have the capacity to overcome a seemingly lost cause, perhaps something positive will yet emerge because the Brexit ground seems to be shifting a bit.

There is no question that the election result has been the catalyst for the change in sentiment, but the agents of change have been the same all along. The economy is, slowly but relentlessly, slowing down as consumers and businesses cancel or defer spending and borrowing decisions. And businesses, which have long warned about the deleterious consequences of Brexit in general, and a poorly managed Brexit in particular, now seem to have the ear of the government.  Read more ›

Posted in Viewpoints Tagged with: , ,

The new Japan-EU trade agreement exposes UK and US weakness

First published:, 11/07/2017

Posted in Global Economy + Finance Tagged with: , , , ,

This mini-inflation scare pales in comparison to the Brexit shambles

First published:, 20/06/2017

Posted in Europe + UK Tagged with: , ,