How a US-UK Free Trade Agreement Could Benefit Both Nations

Ahead of the next presidential election in just 16 months, the White House has only recently held their first meeting of the President’s Export Council. Given the little time, lofty goals, and stiff political headwinds, what can this national advisory body on international trade achieve? However, the council has something attainable and tangible: a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.

A US-UK FTA could move the council’s agenda of digital trade, innovation, and trade facilitation forward. The digital economy represented 10.3% of US GDP in 2021, and a U.S.-U.K. FTA would likely boost U.S. services exports. Innovation can spur with increasing access for US firms abroad, and mutually recognized standards can pave the way for more innovation in areas such as advanced manufacturing, agriculture and agricultural biotechnology, digital services, and government contracting.

Trade facilitation can mean anything from customs agencies sharing information about goods at the port to reciprocity for certifications, qualifications, and degrees. A US-UK FTA would give all US states the opportunity to take advantage of these export opportunities. Moreover, the two countries already share similar labor and environmental rules and goals, enabling the roadblocks to be passable.

Given the U.K.’s Brexit divorce from the European Union, a US-UK FTA is a high-reward opportunity. It would grant the US negotiators expanded leverage in areas important to the White House and Congress, such as climate goals, other environmental issues, and agriculture.

Council members are chosen for their considerable talent pools and political influence. A US-UK FTA may not be at the top of each individual member’s agenda, but together, it is something they could achieve. Each member of the council can focus on what it would take to get the negotiations underway in their particular area and secure congressional support. It would be a memorable accomplishment for the council and the administration.

In conclusion, the President’s Export Council has a chance to show that trade is a good and essential thing by forging a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.


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