From U.S.Representative Morgan Griffith, R-VA-9:
On February 20, British Prime Minister David
Cameron announced that on June 23, a referendum will be held on whether Britain
would remain part of the European Union (EU) or if it will depart and exit the
EU, commonly known in the United Kingdom as “Brexit.” This announcement follows
an EU summit in Brussels at which Cameron had renegotiated Britain’s membership
in the EU, which reportedly would grant his country with special status in the
EU should it remain part of the EU.
Britain’s relationship with the EU
has been and continues to be a significant, divisive issue in British politics.
Some are of the belief that Britain has been pushed around by the EU, and hasn’t
received a fair deal. Others, including the Prime Minister, advocate remaining
in the EU, arguing among other things that it is important to Britain’s security
and its economy.
Comments on this debate by United States Trade
Representative (USTR) Michael Froman indicate that the US would not be
interested in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Britain should it leave the EU.
He said, “We're not particularly in the market for FTAs with individual
countries. We're building platforms ... that other countries can join over
Further, he said, “We have no FTA with the U.K. so they would be
subject to the same tariffs – and other trade-related measures – as China, or
Brazil or India.”
I am disappointed by these comments, which appear to be
veiled threats against one of our oldest allies and friends. The special
relationship that exists between the United States and the United Kingdom is of
great importance to both nations. I am of the belief that Froman should not
have made these remarks, and that the United States ought not meddle in
Britain’s internal political affairs. Instead, Britain should be left to make
its own determinations.
After all, we are a nation founded in part
because the British wouldn’t let us independently make decisions on such issues
as levels of taxation.
As I reflect on this situation, I can’t help but
note that I am writing this column on February 22, the anniversary of George
Washington’s birth. Washington, as you may know, was initially a loyal British
subject before he later would become known as the father of the United
It is not the place of the US government to interfere in
Britain’s internal matters, just as we would not want Her Majesty’s government
to interfere in those of our own.
Nor should we punish our ally and
friend Great Britain should its people vote to leave the EU. Further, if they
decide to Brexit and leave the EU, we should immediately grant Great Britain
trade agreements similar to those granted the nations of the EU.
letter to President Obama in early November, I expressed my concerns about
Froman’s comments. I noted that the United Kingdom is our seventh largest
trading partner, accounting for approximately $54 billion in exports in 2014
alone. We should continue to have good trading relations with our friend and
ally no matter what Britain’s voters decide to do in regards to their membership
in the EU.
Additionally, while some argue that the EU and Great Britain
are both stronger if they remain united, let us recall the Continental System of
Napoleon in the first decade and a half of the 19th Century. That system was
designed in part to economically unify Europe to the detriment of the British.
These efforts were not successful. Not only did the British defeat Napoleon,
but the British economy was the strongest in the world for most of the 19th
Instead of interfering in Britain’s business, let’s trust the
British voters to make their own decisions. Once again, an overreaching Obama
Administration is attempting to meddle in areas in which it probably has no
Traveling Staff Office
To better serve you, my staff and I travel regularly
through the Ninth District to attend meetings or events and to hold traveling
staff office hours. At traveling staff office hours, we meet with constituents,
help interact with federal agencies, and/or listen to constituents’ opinions on
legislative matters. A complete schedule of upcoming traveling staff office
hours is available on my website, www.morgangriffith.house.gov.
have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can
call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at
540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at
www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my
office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House