U.S.-United Kingdom Trade Negotiations: Private Sector Priorities



U.S Chamber of Commerce|COVID-19|Trade Policies|UK| Global Trade Rules|Market|Negotiations

The U.S. business community is encouraged that the United States and the United Kingdom (UK) are committed to securing tangible improvements in our bilateral trade and investment relationship through a comprehensive, high-standard trade agreement. We stand ready to work closely with both governments to strengthen ties between our two nations—the world’s largest and 5th largest economies, respectively. Especially in light of the profound economic disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are eager to work with U.S. and UK policymakers to advance these trade talks in a timely fashion.

As the two sides begin their negotiations, it is important to underline the considerable uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future trade policy. The U.S. business community is eager to see the UK and EU successfully conclude negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement by the end of the transition period, currently scheduled for December 31, 2020.

U.S. firms have invested more than $750 billion in the UK, and the American business community has a significant interest in ensuring the future stability and growth opportunities of the UK economy. Many of these investments were made in order to access the larger EU Single Market. With that in mind, it is vital that the UK secure a favorable trade agreement with the EU as quickly as possible. A continued lack of certainty about the way forward will continue to constrain inbound investment and risks limiting prospects for bilateral trade negotiations between the U.S. and UK.

We continue to believe it makes sense for the UK to reset its relationship with the EU before it turns to set the terms of its trade ties with other trading partners. As it now appears the UK will proceed with the EU and U.S. negotiations in parallel, we see considerable opportunities for a U.S.-UK agreement to advance global standards, particularly in the digital economy, financial services, and emerging technologies. The two sides should also endeavor to remove all tariffs and establish wide-ranging regulatory cooperation mechanisms with meaningful opportunities for stakeholder engagement.

Reducing or eliminating barriers to two-way trade and investment would measurably boost the long-term economic outlook for both the United States and the UK, with particular benefits to small and medium-sized companies. The COVID-19 pandemic makes this growth more imperative than ever. Greater cooperation between our countries would provide a pathway for joint leadership in response to shared challenges in a rapidly changing global economy. For example, the United States and the UK should work together to strengthen global trade rules and

institutions to adapt to the challenges posed by non-market economies. Moreover, the United States and the UK can lead global efforts to remove trade barriers for critical materials including medicine, medical equipment, and other products necessary to support public health.

In keeping with the Chamber’s mission to advocate for free enterprise, competitive markets, and rules-based trade and investment, the Chamber regards these negotiations as an opportunity to remove barriers to commerce. We recommend hewing closely to the negotiating objectives established in the U.S. Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), as the U.S. administration has indicated it intends to do.

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