WITA Webinar: Discussion of US-UK Relations with Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America Antony Phillipson




On Thursday, June 11th, WITA hosted a webinar with panelists who discussed America’s relationship with Great Britain, and examined the potential for a ground-breaking trade agreement between the two countries.

WITA Webinar Featuring:

Craig Beaumont, Director, External Affairs and Advocacy, Federation of Small Businesses

Laura Lane, President Global Public Affairs, UPS

Tim Keeler, Partner at Mayer Brown, former Chief of Staff at USTR

Antony Phillipson, British Consul General in New York and HM Trade Commissioner for North America

Webinar Summary:

Craig Beaumont, Laura Lane, Tim Keeler, and Anthony Phillipson give their views on U.S., U.K. trade and trade negotiations. Trade negotiations have been a priority for the U.K. Government for quite a long time. Digital trade protection and data protection are key drivers in the future of the global economy; this is a shared ambition between two governments. Now is time to put their differences aside and implement policies that will benefit their economy during and after COVID-19. The majority of the issues presented by the speakers and the questions raised by the attendees revolved around the long-standing battleground of U.K. and U.S. bilateral trading systems and how they will be able to exploit all of the digital economies through digital services. 

Laura Lane, President Global Public Affairs, UPS shared with the panelist that about 495,000 ups are operating in 220 countries and territories around the world. She knew how the U.S., the United Kingdom, and the world was counting on her company (UPS) to deliver essential supplies and to be able to provide what was needed. She mentioned that she took this task personally and shared with the audience how coming out of COVID-19 is the very same responsibility in terms of figuring out how we’re going to drive the economic recovery.

The United States and the United Kingdom have to figure out ways to write trade agreements that are more inclusive that bring everybody all in and realizing those benefits. The U.K. and the U.S. can draft an agreement that addresses some of the biases that have been unintentionally included in trade agreements. Laura Lane stated that  “I think we need to make it more inclusive.” The U.S. is cracking down on digital trade and e-commerce, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The goal is to make it easier for companies to have a more significant customer pool around the world”.

The integration of the U.S. and the U.K. relations will include many prestigious projects such as services in the financial sector, financial services distribution services, and telecommunication services. These are some of the projects where the U.S-UK economic recovery could improve. Especially the small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of those opportunities that it creates. Laura Lane mentioned in a very constructive statement, “I would say that’s one of the best ways to make trade more inclusive. I think about all the people as I said that have been affected by COVID-19.”

Lastly, this webinar concluded by a series of questions from the attendees to the panelists directed towards Anthony Phillipson. The attendees “asked about the nexus between negotiation with the US and the negotiations with the EU?” Anthony Phillipson responded by stating that “We have no intention of allowing the US, UK EU negotiations to disrupt the gains; what happens on that set of issues will have an impact on the way they will vote on an FTA including people in very key positions,” he says.

One panelist, Laura Lane, emphasized that The UK and the EU had an existing and powerful robust trading relationship. She hopes, and obviously, UPS is advocating for this, that the EU and the UK, figure out a way to reestablish that as much as possible, and build on that relationship that should have previously existed. She said that the UK has a great opportunity right now to be establishing new customs processes. If we get it right, we set the economic recovery and growth going forward, and She believes that the ingredients are there in the UK and EU.