President Elect Biden has made it known that he is unhappy with the UK government's internal market bill and the potential hard border in Ireland. This could make life more difficult for the UK in agreeing a trade deal with the US if it leaves the EU without a deal at the end of this year.
However, the recent trade deal between the UK and Japan signed in September 2020 could give some hope to the UK getting an indirect free trade deal with the US.
This could be the case as Japan has agreed, as part of its trade deal with the UK, to support the UK in any application it may make to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP was originally made up of 12 countries, including the US, until President Trump was elected who rejected membership of the TPP. The remaining 11 countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, New Zealand, Peru, Malaysia, Japan and Chile signed a revised version of the TPP. It came into force in December 2018 after Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico and Singapore ratified the TPP into their local laws.
President Elect Biden is known to favour membership of the TPP, although with some revisions, in order not to let China have free rein over global trade.
If the US were to begin discussions to re-join the TPP, and the UK applied to join, it could be that there would be no need for a direct UK/US trade deal as the same result would be obtained through membership of the TPP.
Was the UK-Japan trade deal a clever fall back in case of delay in a trade deal with the US or just a nice coincidence? We will have to wait and see.