Yorkshire businesses ‘can benefit massively’ from American infrastructure projects, leading US lawyers

View of the Baltimore skyline in Maryland, USA.

Businesses in Yorkshire and the North of England are well placed to capitalise on plans from both US presidential candidates to massive infrastructure spending if elected, a leading US lawyer has said.

The low value of Sterling coupled with Northern companies’ strong manufacturing track records, could prove hugely advantageous to the north’s economy, he said.

Meanwhile another Squire Patton Boggs US partner Jeff Turner, said that there was strong political support in the US for new trade arrangements with Britain and that the UK could improve its bargaining position with the EU if it looked seriously at closer US ties.

The two lawyers, who have significant track records for international deals and have backgrounds in Washington politics, were speaking exclusively to The Yorkshire Post during a visit to the firm’s offices in Leeds.

Mr Samolis said: “This could have big benefits for companies in England and the north in particular. The goal there is to address crumbling infrastructure projects whether that’s bridges roads, water supplies, electrical grid systems and so on. Opportunities to export into the US market as that spending occurs will be there. Historically British companies have always been able to export into the US market and there is no reason to believe that there would not be able to continue to do so in an environment where there will be a lot more fiscal spending.

“You have a strong manufacturing base here. Quite simply the US is going to be in a buying mode and companies that are competitive and especially with Sterling [which has fallen against the dollar since Britain voted to leave] they have the opportunity to take advantage of that.”

Meanwhile Mr Turner said that the UK Government could improve its bargaining position once Article 50 is triggered by considering involving itself with some of the trade agreements the US is signed up to such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He said that while Mr Trump held extremely negative views of current trade deals, the traditional Republican leadership remained amiable, and that President Obama’s infamous claim that the UK would be at the “back of the queue” for any talks should not be taken as a barrier.

Mr Turner said: “Some influential members of Congress have come out in favour of a separate US/UK trade deal including the Speaker of the House. From what I read the focus in the negotiations is on the EU and you are going to have to pay a price for leaving, as members of EU don’t want you to leave easily. Rather than focus so much on Brexit and status within the EU there are other options in terms of signing on to other agreements.

“It can send a signal to the EU that you are not necessarily at the mercy of the existing EU nations when you start negotiating, you do have options.

“I don’t want to diminish the complexity and importance of what you need to do. You need to join WTO in your own right, there will be complications adopting common external tariffs and reallocating all these complicated agreements. But if the UK begins to think broadly about options with US and others long term, that will be better for your negotiating process.”

“You have a strong manufacturing base here. Quite simply the the US is going to be in a buying mode.”

Frank Samolis

POLITICAL BACKDROP

While both candidates have talked about infrastructure spending as a means of delivering fiscal stimulus to the US economy, Ms Clinton has more detailed in terms of how she wants to achieve this, looking at a broad range of projects including airports, internet connectivity and transport.

Her opponent Mr Trump, whose campaign has hit the buffers in recent weeks after lurid revelations concerning his attitudes to women and questions over his lack of income tax payments, has been less expansive only promising to deliver projects on a far greater scale than Ms Clinton.

No matter who is elected spending plans were likely to face some opposition from both Congress and the Sentate.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump

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