There is no greater international relationship than that between the United States and the United Kingdom.
For decades, our soldiers have stood side by side in the defense of liberty as the ideals that make our countries great have spread across the globe, and the economic ties that bind our countries have benefited citizens of both nations.
Now, as the U.K. is preparing to finalize its exit from the European Union, our relationship is about to enter a new and critical phase. In today’s global economy, trade agreements are the foundation upon which international relations are built.
The United States currently has a trade agreement with the EU, but a new, bilateral agreement with the U.K. will become necessary when Brexit is finalized.
The facts are clear: Businesses and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic will suffer immensely without a strong free trade agreement between the United States and the U.K. Just last year, the U.K. exported $58.4 billion worth of goods to the United States, making it the U.K.’s no. 1 trade partner in terms of total export sales. Similarly, the United States exported $56.2 billion worth of goods to the U.K.
From aircraft and medicines to furniture, the goods that move between our two countries support jobs and grow our economies. With Brexit becoming a reality next March, our two countries have a unique opportunity to grow our mutual bond in a way that further benefits both nations. A bilateral trade agreement between the United States and the U.K. will do just that.
Thankfully, it appears that leaders in both nations recognize the significant opportunity to strengthen both ties and economies, and are committed to pursuing an agreement. Just a few weeks ago, U.S. President Donald Trump said he expects to reach a deal “very, very quickly,” a statement that echoes the sentiment of his top advisors and cabinet members, including Commerce Secretary Ross.
Leaders in the U.K. share his enthusiasm and confidence. Liam Fox, Britain’s trade secretary, has said that exports “could rise from £167bn a year to about £207bn by 2030 if we’re able to remove the barriers to trade that we have.”
These leaders are following the will of their constituents, as a recent YouGov survey demonstrates it is well placed. By wide margins, respondents in both countries stated they support a U.S.-U.K. trade deal, with less than 10 percent saying they are opposed to such an agreement.
The survey also revealed that voters in both countries place the U.S. and U.K. at or near the top of the list of countries with whom it is most important that they maintain strong economic ties. And out of a list of 18 countries, 54 percent of Americans and 59 percent of Brits listed the other nation as their strongest ally.
These results clearly demonstrate that political leaders in the United States and the U.K. have the will of the public on their side as they begin negotiations to solidify the economic bonds of our two countries.
While President Trump’s recent trip to the U.K. initially raised questions about the prospects of a new trade deal, he and British Prime Minister Teresa May both confirmed their desire to forge a lasting agreement. In fact, President Trump said, “Oh, I think we’re going to have a great trade deal. I’ve really no doubt about it.”
For business on both sides of the Atlantic, the details of the agreement will have long-lasting consequences that will either foster economic growth or limit it. In order to ensure the agreement is reached and framed properly, it is critical that stakeholders get organized now and prepare to have their voices heard by both governments.
By working together, we can establish a healthy, mutually beneficial trade agreement between the United States and the U.K. that drives economic growth and advances the historic relationship that has existed between our two countries for centuries.
Terry Nelson is a founding partner at FP1 Strategies and James Frayne is a founding partner at Public First.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.