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  • Writer's pictureTim Oliver

British Foreign Policy Must-Reads 2 Oct-8 Oct: UK-US Trade, Migration, EVs, Decline, and Space

The Conservative party conference offered more of a Trumpian MAGA feel for the future of British politics (at least on the Conservative side) than actual policies and debate about Britain's place in the world. The one exception, of course, was migration, an issue the PM himself pushed further on immediately after the conference at the EPC in Granada. Other analysis this past week included reports of the possibility of a UK-US Trade Pact (not deal), several pieces about the future of UK EV production (including an excellent report from RUSI on how geopolitics and Brexit are shaping it), a look at UK-EU space cooperation, pieces on the continued decline of the UK, the need for a Conservative foreign policy, and how Britain is avoiding right-wing extremism, and a look forward to how London looks set to regain its position as Europe's biggest stock market (again).


  1. US-UK Trade pact—Politico: Revealed: Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak seek UK/US trade pact before 2024 elections. US proposals leaked to POLITICO cover thorny issues including agriculture, but not market access.

  2. US-UK Economic Relations—PISM: U.S.-UK Increasingly Exploring Economic Dimension of Their Special Relationship. The United States and the United Kingdom are stepping up economic cooperation, aiming to increase turnover and economic dependence and innovation between the two economies, as well as deepen integration. Although U.S.-British free-trade-agreement negotiations initiated after Brexit have been put on hold, progress in other areas could accelerate a return to talks. The convergence of areas of U.S.-UK economic cooperation with the EU-U.S. format could facilitate the European Union’s coordination with both countries on economic issues.

  3. Diego Garcia—Bloomberg: Evicted From Their Island Paradise, They’re Now Fighting for Reparations. Starting in 1968, Britain expelled the Chagossian people to make way for a US military base in the Indian Ocean. They’re after a proper reckoning.

  4. EPC—Politico: Shambles in Granada: Mega-gathering of European leaders ends with a whimper. 49 leaders, 700 journalists, dozens of bilateral meetings … and no decisions.

  5. UK-Italy—Guardian: Giorgia Meloni turns to Rishi Sunak to take battle against migration beyond EU. The two prime ministers have forced immigration onto the agenda at European Political Community summit in Granada.

  6. UK-Italy—The Times: Rishi Sunak and Giorgia Meloni. We must stand together against criminal people smugglers. Europe faces humanitarian crisis as unsafe crossings have already claimed 2,000 lives this year, say prime ministers of UK and Italy.

  7. Britain on the left—FT: Britain is Europe’s haven from the hard right. The maligned nation is doing better than the continent at fighting extremists.

  8. British Decline—New Statesman: Britain’s eternal decline. Debate on Britain’s place in the world has flared through war, imperial upheaval and Thatcherism. Brexit reignited it.

  9. Conservative foreign policy—Reaction: Conservatives need a conservative foreign policy.

  10. EVs—RUSI: How Brexit and Beijing are Shaping the UK’s Transition to EVs. As battery manufacturing in the US and EU becomes embroiled in strategic economic rivalry with China, what are the geopolitics of battery production from a UK perspective?

  11. UK-EU TVs—FT: EU to loosen new rules on EV sales in attempt to defuse row with UK. Brussels says it will interpret ‘made in Europe’ rules very loosely in 2024.

  12. Post-Brexit Border checks—FT: New Brexit border checks to cost business £330mn a year. Minister’s letter to Labour MP sets out government forecast as companies warn of food price rises

  13. Windsor Framework Explained—UKICE: Implementing the Windsor Framework. A major part of the Windsor Framework arrangements agreed by the UK and the EU to ease the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland came into operation on 1 October 2023. David Phinnemore and Lisa Claire Whitten explain what the Windsor Framework is, how it operates in practice, and how it differs from the arrangements that were previously in place. They also explain the Windsor Framework’s ‘Stormont Brake’ and consider whether the Framework has reset UK and EU relations.

  14. UK-EU Space Relations—UKICE: Re-joining Copernicus: a look at UK-EU space relations. Marissa Martin sets out the impact for the UK space industry and UK-EU space security collaboration of the UK’s reassociation to the Copernicus programme.

  15. Brexit negotiations—International Affairs: Trust and calculation in international negotiations: how trust was lost after Brexit. How does a loss of trust affect international negotiations? We know that trust enables cooperation and comes with the risk of betrayal. Yet the effects of lost trust are not well understood, with most research in International Relations (IR) focusing on how trust is initially built in adversarial relations. In this article, we conceptualize trust as the eclipsing of possible futures in which others do not behave cooperatively. When trust is lost, actors include further possibilities of non-cooperative behavior in their calculations and adjust their negotiating demands accordingly. We use this framework to explain the European Commission's response to Boris Johnson's government breaking its trust during the Brexit negotiations by deviating from the Political Declaration, introducing the Internal Market Bill, and not conducting border checks in the Irish Sea. Drawing on elite interviews, we trace how the Commission altered its expectations and consequently sought negotiated outcomes with tighter contracting, reduced discretion and retaliatory mechanisms. Analysing the interplay of trust and calculation on a granular level, we show that breaches of trust do not preclude future cooperation per se, but shape its form and extent in important ways.

  16. London—Bloomberg: London on Cusp of Becoming Biggest Stock Market in Europe, Again. British market cap in dollar value nears that of France. Oil, pound moves favor UK stocks as Paris Luxury shares slip.

  17. India-Canada—FT: Why the west cannot turn a blind eye to a murder in Canada. Ignoring the possible role of foreign governments in assassinations would pose major risks to national security and social stability.

  18. China—Politics Home: Foreign Secretary Believes China Would "Collapse" Its Economy If It Invaded Taiwan. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned that if China invaded Taiwan it could "collapse" the Chinese economy, but insisted the UK has huge influence in the attempt to curb the power of China.

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