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Launch: An “Ideal” US-UK Free Trade Agreement

September 18, 2018, 14:30 - Capitol Building, Washington DC; and Broadway House, London

IFT

Launch: An “Ideal” US-UK Free Trade Agreement

​There is great political will in both the US and the UK to complete a post-Brexit trade deal. Although formal negotiations can’t legally begin until after March 2019, talks have already begun in the form of a trade and investment dialogue, whose working group first met in July 2017. Preparatory work on a potential US-UK trade deal is also being carried out in both legislatures.

So what should this US-UK trade agreement look like?

An ideal US-UK free trade agreement (FTA) would go beyond other bilateral deals which focus mainly on reducing barriers to trade in goods and ignore services. It would also focus on mutual recognition of standards and qualifications for goods and occupations. There is one trade deal in existence today that enshrines mutual recognition to this degree: ANZCERTA between Australia and New Zealand, which has been recognised by the WTO as a model free trade agreement.

An agreement of this kind would be less complex and quicker to negotiate than the usual deals that include multiple carve-outs for the protection of certain industries. And, unlike the Australia-New Zealand deal, whose benefits have largely been concentrated in those two countries, a deal between the world’s largest and sixth-largest economies would have worldwide impact. In time, like-minded countries would surely want to join. This kind of “coalition of the willing” would have an enormous positive impact on the global trading system.

IFT has teamed up with the Cato Institute’s Trade Policy Unit in order to produce a draft of this “ideal” US-UK FTA. In a unique exercise that brought together 11 of the major conservative and free market think-tanks on both sides of the Atlantic, this paper because the subject of two rounds of simulated trade talks (one in London, one in Washington DC) between delegates from each of these think-tanks: the Adam Smith Institute (UK), American Enterprise Institute (US), Centre for Policy Studies (UK), Competitive Enterprise Institute (US), Institute of Economic Affairs (UK), Manhattan Institute (US), Mercatus Centre (US), Politeia (UK), The Heritage Foundation (US).

The result is a draft legal text for an ideal free trade agreement. It was launched simultaneously in London and in Washington DC, on 18th September 2018. More information, including access to the full document as well as an executive summary, can be viewed below.

Launch: An “Ideal” US-UK Free Trade Agreement

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