Joe Biden said the UK-US special relationship was in ‘real good shape’ yesterday as he announced a major new deal with Rishi Sunak to bolster economic security in response to the threat posed by China.
The US President hailed the partnership between the two countries during talks with the Prime Minister in the White House’s Oval Office.
Ahead of the meeting, Mr Biden said he and Mr Sunak would ‘solve all the problems of the world in the next 20 minutes’.
They announced that they have agreed an economic partnership –the ‘Atlantic Declaration’ – which will make it easier to import and export critical minerals such as cobalt, nickel and lithium.
The declaration states: ‘We face new challenges to international stability – from authoritarian states such as Russia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC); disruptive technologies; non-state actors; and trans-national challenges like climate change.’
Joe Biden (right) said the UK-US special relationship was in ‘real good shape’ yesterday as he announced a major new deal with Rishi Sunak (left) to bolster economic security in response to the threat posed by China
Ahead of the meeting, Mr Biden said he and Mr Sunak would ‘solve all the problems of the world in the next 20 minutes’
Heralding a new era for the economic relationship between the UK and US, the deal eases protectionist barriers, and is a boost to the production of electric car batteries and solar panels.
It also includes closer defence industry ties and a data protection deal. The pact mitigates some of the issues caused by Mr Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, with a critical minerals agreement easing barriers which affected trade in electric vehicle batteries.
And it could allow British manufacturers to qualify for some of the subsidies set out in the act, which provide a $3,750 (£3,000) incentive for each vehicle, on conditions including that the critical minerals used in its production are sourced from the US or a country with an agreement with the US.
It does not go as far as a free trade deal – but No10 said this was a conscious choice. Mr Biden has vowed to ask Congress to approve the UK as a ‘domestic source’ under US defence procurement laws, allowing for greater American investment in British firms.
Work will be carried out to improve the resilience of supply chains and efforts will be stepped up to shut Russia out of the global civil nuclear market.
The agreement will also include a push for mutual recognition of qualifications for engineers, although this could require state-by-state approval in the US.
A deal on data protection will ease burdens for small firms doing transatlantic trade, potentially saving £92million.
The commitment to a new UK-US ‘data bridge’ would slash red tape for around 55,000 UK businesses.
The two nations will also collaborate on artificial intelligence, 5G and 6G telecoms, quantum computing, semiconductors and engineering biology.
Heralding a new era for the economic relationship between the UK and US, the deal eases protectionist barriers, and is a boost to the production of electric car batteries and solar panels
Mr Sunak said yesterday: ‘The Atlantic Declaration sets a new standard for economic cooperation, propelling our economies into the future so we can protect our people, create jobs and grow our economies together.’
Speaking at a joint press conference with Mr Biden last night, the PM said: ‘When the United States and the United Kingdom stand together, the world is a safer, better, and more prosperous place.
‘That’s why ours is the indispensable alliance.’ Mr Sunak also hailed post-Brexit Britain as ‘confident, proud and free’, adding: ‘I know some people have wondered what kind of partner Britain would be after we left the EU.
‘I’d say judge us by our actions. We’re committed to our values as ever, as reliable an ally as ever, as attractive an investment destination as ever.
‘But we’re changing too. We’re strengthening our relationships, not just with old friends like America and in Europe, but with new friends in the Indo-Pacific too.’
During the conference, Mr Biden also praised UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as ‘very qualified’ to lead Nato, saying it ‘may be’ time for the alliance to be led by a British politician.
But he said a consensus was needed on the next secretary general, a post which must be filled by the autumn when Jens Stoltenberg retires.