Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to convey to President Joe Biden the importance of elevating Britain’s economic ties with the US to a level on par with their defense and security cooperation.
With the UK’s departure from the European Union, there is a desire to strengthen alignment with Washington in order to effectively navigate the increasing global threats posed by China, Russia, and the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
During his visit, Sunak plans to engage in discussions with President Biden, U.S. business leaders, and members of the U.S. Congress.
He will emphasise that the existing strong ties between the two countries position them well to collaboratively tackle these emerging challenges.
“They are indisputably our closest partner when it comes to trade, when it comes to defence and security cooperation, diplomatic alliance, and tomorrow I’ll be talking about strengthening that economic cooperation,” Sunak told the BBC after arriving in Washington on Wednesday (07).
Sunak said he would also discuss AI regulation with Biden.
“My job is to make sure that we as a country are protected and I’m confident actually that we can put the guardrails in place,” he said in an interview with ITV. “I think that the UK can play a leading role in shaping that conversation.”
During his visit, Sunak held meetings at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, including discussions with Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.
While securing a comprehensive free trade deal with the US was once considered a major economic goal for Brexit supporters, the reluctance of Washington to pursue such an agreement has led successive UK governments to seek agreements on specific areas instead.
Under mounting pressure, Sunak’s government has faced calls to address the recent move by President Biden to introduce $369 billion in subsidies aimed at advancing the growth of electric vehicles and clean technologies.
This policy announcement has prompted the European Union to outline its own industrial plan in response.
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.”