Dec 12, 2019

U.K. election: WTO paralysis raises more questions for future terms of trade

Felix Salmon, author of Edge

Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Millions of Britons are casting their votes today in what could be the most consequential election in living memory. One question now has less of a clear answer than ever: What will happen to Britain's terms of trade if it leaves the EU single market?

Driving the news: Polling suggests that Boris Johnson's Conservative Party will win about 43% of the votes. Under Britain's winner-takes-all voting system, that'll be enough to give him a modest overall majority in Parliament.

  • With a majority, Johnson will be able to take the U.K. out of the EU on January 31. Johnson is adamant that he won't abide a "Brexit in name only" — which means that he's going to risk a hard Brexit where Britain trades on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Our thought bubble: Trump could not have eviscerated the WTO at a worse time for Johnson, who is in many ways his British doppelgänger. If WTO rules are worthless, Britain will have even less negotiating leverage against trading partners like the U.S. and the EU.

Go deeper: Boris Johnson accused of hiding in refrigerator to avoid TV interview

Go deeper

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Police officer in George Floyd killing charged with third-degree murder

A protester with a sign with George Floyd's last words. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

The state of play: Freeman said that the delay in Chauvin's arrest, which came four days after Floyd's death on Monday, was due to the need to collect sufficient evidence — and that it was "by far the fastest" his office had charged a police officer. He added that he also anticipated charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd's arrest and death, but refused to elaborate.

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,871,347 — Total deaths: 362,554 — Total recoveries — 2,463,332Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,731,035 — Total deaths: 102,201 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  4. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.