Press Release

Published: 21 March 2024

BritishAmerican Business Takes A Deep Dive Into The UK MoU Initiative with the US States.

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Contact: Mazar Ahmed, Manager, Communications & Media, BritishAmerican Business | +44 (0) 20 7290 9883

BritishAmerican Business has today released a report offering a comprehensive analysis of the UK government’s state-level trade and investment strategy with the US. The report follows last week’s signing of the eighth trade pact, with the state of Texas.

Over the past two years, amidst stalled negotiations for a US-UK Free Trade Agreement, the UK has pursued enhanced economic collaboration with the US through a series of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed with individual states. To-date the UK has signed eight trade pacts with Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington State, Florida, and Texas.

BAB’s report offers a deep dive into the structure and objectives of each MoU as well as examining the areas and industries of focus, mechanisms for implementation and how progress will be monitored.

The paper argues that, while recent activities initiated by the MoU process suggest that things are going in the right direction, it’s now time to do the hard work to continue to deliver on the many ambitious commitments set out in the agreements.

In its report, BAB commends the UK government for its proactive approach to strengthening trade and economic ties with the US and welcomes recent agreements with economically significant states such as Florida and Texas. BAB would rather see a handful of agreements with larger states than dozens of agreements with smaller states that lack the required focus. 

The report reveals a consistent focus on sectors across the MOUs, which align with the UK’s identified growth industries, including advanced manufacturing, life sciences and fintech. All the MoU’s except Florida emphasise opportunities in energy transition and sustainability.

BAB’s analysis also identifies the various means of co-operation from regular meetings, to trade missions and academic institutions partnering. The report highlights the special emphasis MoUs put on public procurement. This ranges from providing guidance to UK vendors to ensuring UK suppliers are treated no less favourably than suppliers from non-bordering states (with the US state in question).

According to BAB, the MOUs are frameworks for trade promotion that make it easier for UK companies to receive a warm welcome in those states, create an environment for collaboration and activate local networks. They don’t however change the law, decrease tariffs, or improve market access. Their true impact on meaningful economic outcomes hinges on robust implementation, delivering on the commitments detailed in each agreement and sustained engagement at both national and local levels.

BritishAmerican Business CEO Duncan Edwards said:

“These trade agreements represent a significant milestone in strengthening economic ties between the UK and the US and we applaud the UK government and the various states for the work they have done to-date to get these MoUs signed.

“The trade pacts go a long way to creating a warm and welcoming environment for UK companies who might want to do business in a given state and ultimately the success of the MOUs will be measured by wins for business and increased trade and investment.

“The UK government now needs to ensure it has the resources and capability to deliver on the ambitious commitments it has signed up to. Doubling down and bringing these MOUs to life has the potential to be transformative and can signify a proactive and forward-thinking approach to transatlantic economic cooperation. 

“BritishAmerican Business stands ready to be a supportive partner.”

About BritishAmerican Business

BritishAmerican Business is the leading transatlantic trade association incorporating the British-American Chamber of Commerce in the US and the American Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

We are committed to strengthening the economic corridor between the United States and the United Kingdom by supporting policies and actions that protect and enhance the environment for transatlantic trade and investment on behalf of our members.

We convene and serve a growing network of companies and business leaders through networking opportunities, bespoke programming and marketing platforms.

We actively promote trade and investment and support those who make the transatlantic corridor part of their business growth ambition.