This letter, written by BAB CEO Duncan Edwards, was published in the Financial Times on February 8, 2018 and focuses on the need for the US and the UK to start trade talks:
Sir, In light of the debate that has been featured in your pages recently about the UK’s status and freedom to act during the transition period and the comments of Michel Barnier, David Davis, Jacob Rees-Mogg and others, it is worth remembering that the biggest trade and investment relationship that the UK has with another sovereign is with the US. More than 1m people in the UK work for American-owned businesses and this is balanced by more than 1m people in the US working for British companies, and each country is the other’s largest capital investor.
There are many thorny and economically significant issues that need to be resolved between the UK and the EU during the transition, the outcome of which will impact, one way or another, on American-owned operations in the UK in financial services, pharma, automotive and many other sectors and it is right that there is time and attention given to these. But surely it makes sense for the UK to have the freedom, in parallel with the negotiations about the future relationship with the EU, to discuss, negotiate and even to sign an agreement with its biggest economic partner.
The signs are that the US is willing and eager to enter into these negotiations, which in turn will involve highly significant economic issues and some with less economic impact but much political sensitivity, and no matter how much goodwill exists on both sides, these negotiations will take time. Whether a new agreement between the US and the UK can come into force when the UK leaves the EU or at the end of the transition period is probably moot, given how long these things take, but not starting now makes no sense at all.
New York, NY, US