Biden, Sunak announce new US-UK economic partnership

Under the new "Atlantic Declaration," the US and the UK will work to boost supply chains and investment, the two leaders said, as they boasted the strength of their ties

Biden, Sunak announce new US-UK economic partnership (Photo: DW)
Biden, Sunak announce new US-UK economic partnership (Photo: DW)


US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met in the White House on Thursday for wide-ranging talks.

The two leaders have had four face-to-face meetings since Sunak became prime minister in October, but Thursday's talks mark his first White House visit as British premier.

The pair sought to demonstrate that the relations between their two countries were as strong as ever, even after recent political and economic turmoil in London, with Sunak being the third British prime minister that Biden has dealt with since he took office in 2021.

What was on the agenda?

Biden and Sunak discussed economic partnership, artificial intelligence safety, Northern Ireland and joint economic and security interests.

The US president said they also discussed their "unwavering support" for the people of Ukraine in their fight against the Russian invasion.

"The UK and the US together with more than 50 partners have committed historic levels of security assistance to Ukraine," Biden said after the talks.

London and Washington are two of the biggest donors to Ukraine, and they play a central role in a long-term, recently announced effort to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.

After their meeting, the two leaders held a joint conference — an opportunity not always granted to world leaders visiting the White House.

What is the Atlantic Declaration?

Biden and Sunak adopted the so-called Atlantic Declaration, which is aimed at boosting industry ties on defense and renewable energy, in the face of growing competition from China.

"We face new challenges to international stability — from authoritarian states such as Russia and the People's Republic of China; disruptive technologies; non-state actors; and transnational challenges like climate change," the declaration read.

Under the plan, the two countries will work to strengthen their supply chains and invest in one another's industries.

Asked if the declaration constitutes a "failure" to strike a long-sought free trade agreement, Sunak insisted that "the economic relationship between our two countries has never been stronger."

Sunak said the agreement would support tens of thousands of small businesses in the UK to avoid unnecessary red tape when working with a US market.

Trip to 'bang the drum for Britain'

Sunak said he met with "CEO's of America's leading companies" as part of his trip. "I'm in Washington DC to bang the drum for Britain," he wrote on Twitter.

Shortly before leaving for Washington, Sunak announced that several US companies were making $17 billion (€15.7 billion) in new economic investments in the UK.

He was also expected to try to talk up British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace as a candidate to replace NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, whose term in the job is due to end in October.

Biden, whose vote could be decisive, has so far not given any indications of whom he supports.

Asked after the talks if it was time NATO had a British chief, Biden said: "Maybe. That remains to be seen. We will have to get a consensus within NATO."

Sunak arrived in Washington on Wednesday and began his two-day trip by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

The British leader met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and several business leaders and attended a Washington Nationals baseball game.

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