The Atlantic Declaration: How excited should we be?

We were promised a free trade deal. Boris Johnson made it an election pledge in 2019.

Rishi Sunak argues the world has “evolved” since then - not least in the sense that President Biden has replaced President Trump - and he has delivered the best that can be expected, in the circumstances.

The Atlantic Declaration is a collection of agreements designed to strengthen economic ties between the UK and the US, and to cut China out of key supply chains. 

Artificial Intelligence, 5G/6G and semiconductors will power future economic growth. This agreement is an attempt to close ranks.

There are measures which should nurture trade.

British nuclear companies will find it easier to export to the US. 

British defence companies win access to US research funding at a time of protectionism.

British engineers and accountants should find working in the US more straightforward as their qualifications are recognised.

And there’s a “critical minerals deal” which means electric car-makers in Britain will, theoretically, have access to billion of dollars of US subsidies on offer to develop car batteries.

Although, there is still a concern that the UK will find itself caught between two trade blocks as the EU and US subsidy battle to develop green industry intensifies.

Tonight, Alan Winters, Founding Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex said: “The declaration could be good for trade, but it needs to be implemented properly. could be good for UK trade, but it needs to be implemented properly.

"We need the commercial benefits actually to be delivered as we align more closely with US foreign policy objectives, and we need to invest in UK science so that cooperation does not mean merely exporting British brains in return for imports of US tech."

John Springford from Centre for European Reform says the declaration may lift UK economic growth a little but won’t have the economic heft of a comprehensive free-trade agreement and won’t offset the damage to trade with the EU that Brexit has caused.

“There are lots of things which are going to be going to be useful for particular types of company in the UK, some in the tech centre, some in the defence industry,” he told ITV News.

“There is some really helpful things but this isn't something which is going to make a big difference to the average person on the street. It's not going to raise their income really in a way that they would notice.”

The White House was alive with bonhomie and consensus today but there are large differences between the way the President and the Prime Minister view economic policy. 

Joe Biden believes in power of government subsidy, Rishi Sunak in the power of free-markets.Biden views Brexit act of self-harm, Sunak believes it will leave us better off in the long term.

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