Business Briefing: A Special Deal for a Special Relationship? What is actually going to be happen with a UK-US Trade Agreement?

The negotiating objectives are out. Let the negotiations begin! Or rather, let the negotiations begin when the global pandemic lets us…

BAB is bringing together a group of experts to drill down into the questions our members have on a UK-US Trade Agreement negotiation.  What is actually going to happen? A Comprehensive Agreement in six months? Sector deals and quick wins? Public outcry and total collapse? One thing is for sure, when it comes to negotiating trade deals between the UK and the US, the path never runs smooth, no matter how “special” the relationship.

Join BAB and our expert panel of former negotiations and UK-US Trade and politics experts as we explore all the possible scenarios for the year ahead, breaking down the negotiating objectives and giving attendees an insight into what is actually happening behind the rhetoric and department doors on both sides of the Atlantic.

Our Expert Panel

Marianne Petsinger, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, Chatham House 

Marianne Schneider-Petsinger is senior research fellow in the US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House, responsible for analysis at the nexus of political and economic issues. 

She writes and speaks on global trade, transatlantic economic cooperation and the United States’ use of geo-economic strategies and tools. 

Before joining Chatham House in 2016, she managed the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, an international membership body representing consumer organizations in the EU and US. 

She also worked for a think-tank on transatlantic affairs in the US and an economics ministry in Germany. She is a regular speaker and panellist at events and conferences as well as guest commentator on broadcast news. 

She holds a BA in International Affairs and Economics from the University of Maine, and completed her Master’s degree, focusing on International Trade and Finance, at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 


Lew Lukens, former Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy Ambassador (ret.)  

Lew Lukens is a Senior Partner with Signum Global Advisors, a boutique advisory firm at the intersection of policy and the markets. Prior to joining Signum,  

Lew was a US diplomat for thirty years, serving across five continents and five administrations. Lew was a Senior Director at the National Security Council, Consul General in Vancouver, Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, and most recently Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires in London. Lew has a BA in History and a Master in Public Policy, both from Princeton University. 


Barbara Weisel, MD at Rock Creek Advisors and former Assistant Trade Representative 

Barbara Weisel is a Managing Director at Rock Creek Global Advisors, an international economic policy advisory firm, where she focuses on international trade and investment policy and negotiations as well as market access and regulatory matters. 

Ms. Weisel has more than 25 years of experience advancing international trade and investment initiatives, expanding market access in Asia-Pacific markets, and resolving specific issues faced by businesses in the Asia-Pacific. 

Ms. Weisel served most recently as Assistant US Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She was the US chief negotiator for the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) from its inception in 2008 through its signing in 2016. She was responsible for developing US positions in coordination with other government agencies, Congress and the US private sector. 

In addition to TPP, Ms. Weisel led efforts to expand US market access and promote US economic interests in the Asia Pacific, working with foreign government officials at all levels on intellectual property, digital trade, services, financial services, agriculture, customs, and product standards. 

As Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Bilateral Asian Affairs (Korea, Southeast Asia, and South Asia), Ms. Weisel served as negotiator of FTAs with Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and Singapore. She also was charged with monitoring and enforcing Asian countries’ compliance with their World Trade Organization commitments and working with US companies to resolve specific issues in these markets. 

Earlier, Ms. Weisel served as the official responsible for managing global pharmaceutical regulatory issues and as Director for Japan Affairs. 

Before joining USTR, she worked at the State Department from 1984-1994, serving in a variety of positions, including as international economist on Japan, the Persian Gulf, and North Africa. 

Ms. Weisel earned two Masters Degrees from Harvard University in 1983 in Public Policy with a focus on international development, and Religious Studies, with a focus on Islamic civilization. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College (Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude). 


Clete Willems, Former Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economics, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Trade Negotiator for White House 

Clete Willems advises clients, including investors, trade associations and multinational companies, on international economic law and policy matters. With over 16 years of U.S. government experience, he offers clients strategic guidance and legal representation on trade, investment, finance, economic development, sanctions and energy, among other issues. 

Before joining Akin Gump, Clete served in the White House as the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economics and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. This position was also part of the National Security Council. In this role, he was the lead U.S. negotiator at multilateral summits, serving as the President’s Sherpa at the G-7 and G-20 Summits and the lead negotiator at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum. He was also deeply involved with negotiations with major U.S. trading partners, such as China, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Canada and Mexico. Clete also helped the administration achieve key legislative victories, including the passage of development finance reform legislation and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reform legislation. 

Prior to joining the White House, Clete worked at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for eight years. Among other positions, Clete served as chief counsel for negotiations, legislation and administrative law and legal advisor to the U.S. Mission to the WTO. He was heavily involved in both trade policy issues and WTO litigation. 

Prior to joining USTR, Clete worked as counsel on the House Budget Committee and in multiple positions, including legislative director, for then-Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). In this role, he was successful in helping pass multiple pieces of trade and energy-related legislation into law. 

In addition to being part of the firm’s public law and policy practice, Clete works closely with the international trade team on issues related to the WTO, CFIUS and sanctions. He has participated in over 30 WTO proceedings. 

Event Details


Tuesday 7 April


 11:00 – 12:00 EST (4:00pm – 5:00pm GMT)


Zoom Webinar – Link will be sent after registration