Towards a progressive US-UK trade partnership

Think tank: IPPR

Author(s): Marley Morris; Shreya Nanda

June 9, 2021

This report from UK think tank IPPR looks at a trade partnership grounded in supporting climate action, tackling economic inequalities and human rights.

The contemporary model of international trade is under strain. Rising trade tensions, paralysis at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and economic instability as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have led to renewed calls for reform of the underlying rules of international trade. The election of president Biden has signalled a more constructive approach from the US towards global diplomacy, alongside a continued critique of the current model of trade. As both the US and UK turn their focus towards revitalising international alliances, there is a new opportunity to strengthen the US and UK trading partnership. The Biden administration in the US and the Johnson premiership in the UK have a shared interest in tackling the climate crisis and pursuing a green-led economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. In the short-term, the two countries are looking to make progress on trade and climate policy at the G7 and COP26 summits, hosted by the UK in Cornwall and Glasgow respectively. In the longer term, there is the prospect of a US-UK free trade agreement after negotiations commenced last year. And more broadly, the US and the UK can strengthen the ‘special relationship’ through a trade partnership grounded in shared progressive principles: supporting climate and nature action; tackling economic inequalities; and promoting human rights. In this briefing paper, we set out a broad framework for how the US and the UK can work together to develop such a progressive trading partnership.