While political and strategic considerations may push the UK to prioritise speed over substance when it comes to accession negotiations, this strategy may well pay off if joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is seen as a starting point for greater commercial diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific.
With the arrival of each new US president, the incumbent UK prime minster hopes to revitalise the UK–US ‘special relationship’ in defence and security. It has largely been missing in action since the heady days of the Reagan–Thatcher relationship.
The agreement governing future relations between the UK and the EU has addressed only some of the serious questions about future security cooperation. Many challenges lie ahead, and goodwill, as well as attention to detail will be required by both sides.
Having failed to beat the EU to the Indo-Pacific, and with US–EU relations less than ideal ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration this month, the UK could carve out a niche in Asia by aligning with US policy.