Washington, D.C. – The United States and the United Kingdom held the fifth meeting of the U.S.-UK Trade and Investment Working Group November 2nd through November 7th, and the third meeting of the U.S.-UK Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Dialogue on November 1st.
The Working Group, established in July 2017 by United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and UK Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade Dr. Liam Fox MP, has been focusing on providing commercial continuity for U.S. and UK businesses, workers, and consumers as the UK leaves the EU and exploring ways to strengthen trade and investment ties both now and in the future, including through a free trade agreement.
Since its inception, the Working Group has been laying the groundwork for a potential, future free trade agreement once the UK has left the EU. In the fifth Working Group, representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom continued to exchange information on trade policy-related issues to build on the strength of our existing trade and investment relationship and ensure that both sides are well-prepared to open trade negotiations after the UK leaves the EU in 2019. The Working Group delegations were led by officials from USTR and the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and included representatives from a wide range of U.S. and UK Government departments and agencies. The Working Group covered topics, including industrial and agricultural goods; services and investment, including financial services; digital trade; intellectual property rights (IPR); regulatory issues related to trade; and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Officials also worked together to ensure continuity in the UK/U.S. trading and economic relationship underpinned by international agreements as the UK leaves the EU.
The 3rd U.S.-UK SME Dialogue focused on the topic of digital trade benefits for SMEs and e-commerce tools to promote SME exports. Over 100 U.S. and UK SME stakeholders met with government officials from USTR, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and regional economic development offices for the United States; and for the United Kingdom, from DIT, UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office. At the SME Dialogue, the United States and the UK released joint e-commerce guides for small businesses selling online into both markets.
To read the e-commerce guide for U.S. small businesses to sell online in the UK, click here.
To read the e-commerce guide for UK small businesses to sell online to the U.S., click here.
The UK will host the 4th SME Dialogue in the summer of 2019, focused on the U.S.-UK trade and commercial relationship post-Brexit. In addition, the United States and UK agreed to hold a sectoral-focused SME ‘best practice’ exchange on marine technology on April 9, 2019 at the Oceans Business conference in Southampton, UK. The United States also extended an invitation to the UK to join the 11th Americas Competitiveness Exchange in Puerto Rico in May 2019.
DIT has run a public consultation seeking views on a potential trade agreement with the United States, which closed on October 26. The UK government is currently reviewing the public submissions and will respond in due course. Also in October, Ambassador Lighthizer sent a notification to the U.S. Congress, in accordance with Trade Promotion Authority law, regarding the Administration’s intent to begin negotiations with the UK on a trade agreement after the UK has left the European Union on March 29, 2019.
Trade between the two countries is already worth over $230 billion a year, the United States is the single biggest source of inward investment into the UK, and together there is over $1.2 trillion invested in each other's economies.