CEO Update

Published: 30 June 2023

Amidst the Political Noise, Some Important Work is Getting Done.

Share this page

Duncan Edwards
BritishAmerican Business

With the noise of political drama and real or confected scandals, let alone the miserable stories coming out of Ukraine and Russia, you might have missed the signing of the Atlantic Declaration in Washington D.C. earlier in June when Prime Minister Sunak was in town to see President Biden.  Setting aside the fact that the names for recent agreements are trying a bit too hard to borrow from the successes of the past (there was a New Atlantic Charter in 2021!) The Declaration has the potential to be of real importance.  I say ‘potential’ because what the document includes is a long list of things that the US and UK are committed to trying to reach agreement on or are going to try to get done domestically.  As far as I can see, it doesn’t actually include any agreements on any of these important issues itself, but the fact that both governments are committing to work together to try to reach these agreements is very significant. 

Teams from both governments have committed to meet twice a year to thrash out agreements on a range of important issues from developing future technologies, coordinating export controls for sensitive industries, finding a trade solution on critical minerals, agreeing a US-UK data bridge, partnering on sanctions policy and enforcement, working together on AI regulation, launching a joint clean energy supply chain plan and a civil nuclear energy partnership and further enhancing the already close relationship in defense, with the US committing to ask Congress to treat the UK as if it were a ‘domestic source’.  All in all, it is a hugely ambitious and positive list of objectives and certainly worth a read for those of you interested and you can find it here. 

As the Declaration focuses on the challenges and industries of the future, a successful set of negotiations around these issues could represent as important a change in the US-UK trade and investment partnership as would have been achieved by a more conventional trade agreement and we wish both parties luck.  The challenge, apart of course from the likely issues of substance which are bound to arise, is timing, and the awkward fact that both countries face elections in 2024.  In the same way that the 2020 Presidential election in the US put the kibosh on the trade negotiations, so the UK and US elections next year could have the same effect.  Whether the ideas in The Declaration would survive a change in government in either or both countries (as they should) is anyone’s guess.  At BAB we will follow the progress of these initiatives, offer to help wherever we can, and report back to our members through our policy committee and more generally.

We were thrilled to host the BritishAmerican Business Network annual conference in London in June and huge thanks to our friends at Bank of America for hosting us so magnificently.  Thanks too to all of our sponsors, including, S&P Global, Bain & Company, Schneider Electric, Pearson and Irwin Mitchell.  We covered a lot of ground through the sessions and you can find photos from the day here, with video highlights to follow in the coming weeks. 

Also in London in June we unveiled our annual Transatlantic Growth tracker and presented awards for long term Transatlantic investment to Pearson and Amazon.  Every year we track stories of companies of every size and every industry who make investments through capital commitments or jobs in the other market.  It is not meant to be a comprehensive dataset but rather examples and stories that other companies can learn from and be inspired by.  As always with this project huge thanks to our sponsors, HSBC, Delta Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. 

Our July programming is looking fascinating; we will be holding a joint event with the American Chamber of Commerce of Ireland on July 10th when our guest will be the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs, Joseph Kennedy III; and we are expecting another high-profile US State Governor in London later in July following the visit of Governor DeSantis.  For more on that and all the rest of the BAB activity please keep an eye on our website and your inbox. If you aren’t signed up to receive emails from us yet, you can do so here.