LONDON: Britain wants to put its economic ties with the US on the same footing as the two countries’ defence and security cooperation to help both counter global threats, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will tell President Joe Biden this week.
Having left the European Union, Britain is seeking to further align itself with Washington to help navigate a more volatile world driven by the rise of China, the aggression of Russia and the development of Artificial Intelligence.
Sunak will meet Biden, US business leaders and members of congress this week, arguing that the existing ties between the two countries mean they are better placed to take on the new challenges together. He arrives in Washington on Wednesday.
“Just as interoperability between our militaries has given us a battlefield advantage over our adversaries, greater economic interoperability will give us a crucial edge in the decades ahead,” Sunak said in a statement.
The ability to sign a full free trade deal with the US was once seen by those who backed Brexit as its biggest economic prize, but a reluctance by Washington to consider such a move has left successive governments seeking agreement on individual areas instead.
Sunak’s government has also been under pressure to respond after Biden launched US$369 billion of subsidies to drive the development of electric vehicles and other clean technologies, a policy that prompted Brussels to set out its own industrial plan.
Sunak said a new alliance would help London and Washington to protect supply chains and navigate a global economy where new powers are “manipulating global markets, withholding crucial resources and trying to establish a stranglehold over the industries that will define our future”.