There is a saying that if America sneezes, the UK catches a cold. So what are the side-effects of Donald Trump being voted in as the 45th president of the United States?

Will the UK economy have an allergic reaction or will he provide an antidote to Brexit blues?

Mr Trump’s election campaign was light on policies, other than building a wall along the border with Mexico and much tighter immigration rules, especially for Muslims.

His economic views have been limited to announcements about protecting American industry and jobs and increasing investment.

He has threatened to scrap a number of existing free trade agreements and wants to tax imports.

Cumbria has close business links with America through Sellafield and BAE Systems in Barrow.

There’s no doubt that economic waves from the political earthquake that has rocked the US will cross to this side of the Atlantic.

They arrive as our own politicians grapple with the intricacies involved in extracting ourselves from the European Union.

Daniel Chamier is chief executive of artisan bag manufacturer Chapman Bags.

The Carlisle-based company has 21 staff and generates sales of almost £1 million a year.

It exports to dozens of countries, including Russia, Japan, Australia and the US.

Daniel Chamier Although the US election result may feel similar to that of the Brexit referendum in June, Mr Chamier reckons it is not so critical.

“Brexit is much more fundamental for an exporter than whether Clinton or Trump becomes president,” he said.

“It is too early to say how this result will affect us.

“The fact is that Trump said a lot of things which, if you took them at face value, they are pretty awful.

“The reality is that when you get in power, they are not that bad. It is too early to say that Trump is going to be protectionist.

“There are already import duties into the US and there is no trade deal between the EU and the US.”

Being in the EU is important for his business.

While Germany accounts for 10 per cent of business for Chapman Bags, the American market is a fraction of that.

Mr Chamier admits that being outside the EU could help trade negotiations with America, but added: “I would love the US to become as big as Germany for us, but I don’t see that happening immediately.

“You have to see any major change as an opportunity as well as a threat.”

“You have to try and grasp the opportunity and negate the threat.

“My concern is that we have had votes for Brexit and now Trump, bad things always come in threes, so what’s next?”

Rob Johnston warned people not to be worried by some of Mr Trump’s campaign rhetoric.

Rob Johnston The chief executive of the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, explained: “What tends to happen is you get a campaign where things are said, then you get an administration that can’t always implement those things.

“I think we can expect to see a much more isolated United States, one that looks after protecting its own industries more, which could mean an increase in tariffs.

“There is massive frustration by him on trade deals being made and that is not good news for any business.

“We don’t want trade barriers post Brexit.

“It does make it more difficult for us to develop the US market and it is a very big market for the UK.

“The UK has done very well out of US investment because we have always been a good way into Europe.

“If the whole economic policy is more inward, that will be interesting for us.”

Graham Haywood, director of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, doesn’t foresee many major changes in the relationship between the UK and the US.

Despite stock markets around the world plunging and the value of the Dollar falling as a result of Mr Trump’s victory, Mr Haywood says there is no need for any anxiety or panic.

Graham Haywood He explained: “It is far too early to say how things will change. We need to recognise that the President is not all-powerful.

“One assumes that his own party will keep a fairly good grip on what he’s doing.

“I doubt he would try and block US investment around the world – that is how they make their money.

“I suspect there will be a lot of huff and puff and not much will change.

“If anything, he is probably more likely to be a bit more UK-friendly as he has considerable interests personally in the UK.”

According to Mr Johnston, the American market is important to the economy of the North West and apart from Sellafield and BAE, there are several companies in Cumbria that have business links across the Atlantic.

“The good news is that Mr Trump wants to deal with countries that are friendly to America and we have a close relationship,” he added.

“What we can do, now that we are unshackled from the EU, is we can talk to the US directly.

“We might be in a better position to do a deal with a more aggressive US administration than if we were part of the EU.”

Mr Haywood added: “Presidents come and go, but the bond between the people in America and Britain is pretty strong and it has survived more difficult relationships in the past.”

Some commentators have pointed to the election of Mr Trump and the vote for Brexit in the UK as an indication that voters are fed up with the status quo of politics and feel politicians do not care about them.

They vote against the establishment and the recognised authority to make their point.

David Galbraith is a senior lecturer at the University of Cumbria with special interest in politics.

He said: “For a quarter of a century or so, mainly white working class men have felt disaffected from he political system in the US.

“They don’t feel that their jobs are being protected.”

He believes that although the blue collar workers in America don’t agree with all Mr Trump’s statements, they like his plain-speaking and believe he will do something to help create jobs.

Mr Galbraith said that the victory by Mr Trump and the resurgence of the Conservative party and other right wing parties in Europe signalled a rise in the right in Western politics.

He added: “The left has a lot to do to re-establish itself, but the centre ground is still the area of contest here and in the US.”

‘You have to see any
major change as an opportunity as well as a threat. You have to try and grasp the opportunity and negate the threat’

‘His own party will keep a fairly good grip on what he’s doing. I doubt he would try and block US investment around the world – that is how they make their money’