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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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1040 Abroad

Climate Commitments Could Unlock Trade Talks, Says BAB Boss

By News Team
Published on February 4, 2021

Felixstowe MSC

Duncan Edwards, CEO of BritishAmerican Business, the transatlantic trade association, has written an article about how climate commitments could be the way to unlock trade talks.

In his article, Edwards said “the UK announced it would formally begin negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) the Pacific free trade agreement, as part of its medium–term objective to have 80% of UK trade covered by free trade agreements… the UK is still talking up its desire to conclude a trade agreement with the USA after a huge effort by both sides during 2020 and is waiting for the new US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, and Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, to have their nominations confirmed by the Senate.”

"Any significant action by the Biden team is going to need to check one of their key progressive boxes on labor, healthcare, equality or climate for it to get urgent attention and this may be the opportunity that the UK should pursue. An FTA could be used to proclaim overarching and cross-cutting commitments on climate, sustainability and the environment which build on the commitments both countries have made through the Paris Accord and which will be reported on at COP 26. Given the domestic commitments made by both countries on carbon emissions and longer–term commitments to net neutrality, it might be possible to place climate at the top of the agreement without impacting the core commercial terms. There are still crucial and substantive issue to be resolved but if these can be agreed, a set of climate clauses may make this attractive enough to get the attention it will need to pass in the time left available."

Speaking of BritishAmerican Business, Edwards added “We have partnered with the US Embassy in London to identify Champions of Trade, companies with stories to tell about the importance of trade to their businesses, their stakeholders and their communities… We also partnered with the Department for International Trade to hear from SMEs about what would help them in a transatlantic trade agreement.”

As a final note about the Covid crisis, he explained “Our sense has been that the financial response by both the UK and the US treasuries has been of a scale and speed that has made the economic crisis a lot less bad than it well could have been… At the time of writing, the UK and US amongst large, developed nations, lead the world in percentage of population vaccinated; both countries are home to companies that have successfully developed vaccines in record time and both countries are thinking about their larger responsibility to make sure that these vaccines are shared with the whole world as soon as possible. There is a long way to go but these are successes worth recognizing.”

Read the full article here.

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