Remarks on U.S.-U.K. Free Trade Resolution

June 15, 2021

Mr. President,

For more than a hundred years, throughout times of change, tumult, and uncertainty, there has been a constant: the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom.

The U.K. has been one of our staunchest and most loyal allies. We have stood beside each other through two world wars and the Cold War. In the 21st century, the U.S. and the U.K. have become even stronger friends and partners, both in the fight against global terrorism and for freedom, peace, and prosperity.

Now, an opportunity lies before us to strengthen this relationship more than ever before: by securing a free trade agreement between our two nations, which is the purpose of the resolution before us today.

The trading relationship between our countries is already strong. For hundreds of years, it has been a force for economic prosperity and security for us both.

In just 2019, the total trade in goods and services between our countries totaled $273 billion, and the U.K. was the United States’ seventh largest trading partner in goods. Figures from that same year show that U.S. trade with the U.K. resulted in a $21.8 billion trade surplus.

The United States and the United Kingdom in fact share the single largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world.

And now, with the U.K.’s newfound ability to negotiate independent free trade deals, we have the opportunity to grow that relationship even more.

A free trade agreement would allow even more goods and services to flow more easily between our countries. It would allow for expanded commercial partnerships, and greater investments in emerging industries. It would serve as an even greater engine of prosperity and economic liberty on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mr. President, this is a no brainer. And it would be a tremendous asset in the midst of the economic and geopolitical challenges we face today.

The pandemic and supply-chain turmoil has proven that friends are invaluable in a pinch. While many global relationships have been unsteady, and many governments do not know what the future of their trading relationships will look like, the U.K. has been a stalwart and secure partner.

Furthermore, it could not be a better move in the age of Great Power competition with China. We will not beat China by trying to be like China in imposing a centrist, command-and-control grip on the economy that strangles trade and tramples free enterprise.

Instead, we should do what we have always done best: prioritize free, open, and fair commerce with friendly nations – as the G7 this past weekend confirmed.

At the conclusion of the summit, the group
as a whole agreed to “secure our future prosperity by championing freer, fairer trade within a reformed trading system.”

And the U.S. and the U.K. signed a New Atlantic Charter in which both countries committed to take actions “enabling open and fair trade between nations.”

Securing a mutually beneficial trade agreement with one of our oldest and closest allies would be in the best interest of us all.

As President Biden himself recently said, “America’s alliances are our greatest asset, and leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and key partners once again.” On this, I could not agree with him more.

Congress can seize this opportunity by supporting the resolution before us today.

It is a simple, straightforward resolution declaring the Sense of the Senate that:
the U.S. has and should have a close and mutually beneficial trade partnership with the U.K., without interruption; and
That the President, with the support of Congress, should lay the groundwork for a future trade agreement between the U.S. and the U.K.

Borrowing a phrase from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after his first face-to-face meeting with President Biden at the summit this weekend, the U.S.-U.K. relationship is “indestructible.”

No two nations have worked more successfully together. No two peoples have done more to expand and defend liberty, or to achieve peace and prosperity.

Throughout history, this partnership has steadied the world through some of its greatest perils. And it can continue to do so today, if only we let it.

The American and British peoples have the opportunity to once again join forces and emerge from the challenges we face stronger than ever – for the benefit of our countries, and nations across the globe.

To that end, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.