Britain and America hail new 'special relationship' after signing 'Atlantic declaration' economic agreement

8 June 2023, 21:45 | Updated: 8 June 2023, 23:35

Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden announced the partnership today.
Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden announced the partnership today. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The leaders announced a new economic partnership that will see greater cooperation between the UK and US on matters relating to AI, data protection and civil nuclear power.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that they had struck a first-of-its kind innovative economic partnership.

The partnership means the UK and the US will work together 'closer than ever before' across economics, technology, commerce and trade.

Named the ‘Atlantic Declaration’, the partnership means the UK and the US will look at how they have worked together previously on matters related to defence and security and apply these same principles to work together on economics in a similar fashion.

The Prime Minister said the new economic deal will set “a new standard for economic cooperation” and said after Brexit the UK would be a “confident, proud and free” ally to its American partners.

Despite a long-lived hope among former Tory prime minister for a free trade detail with America, this remains off the table.

Rishi Sunak said, however, that the new partnership would provide the “most benefit to our citizens as quickly as possible.”

The partnership will seek to address matters such as AI, and the best way to respond to this emerging technology to avoid potential threats; navigating the development of 5G and 6G technology together; easing trade barriers; closer defence industry ties and a data protection deal.

Mr Biden also confirmed he was looking to the UK to lead on artificial intelligence.

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The press conference was slightly delayed due to the leaders meeting later than planned.
The press conference was slightly delayed due to the leaders meeting later than planned. Picture: Alamy

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The deal also hopes to mitigate some issues Mr Biden’s green energy deal, known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), created for the UK economy.

The Inflation Reduction Act provides a $3,750 (£2,986) incentive for every electric vehicle, providing that the critical minerals used in its production – principally used in the battery – are sourced from the US or a country the US has a critical minerals agreement.

And the new deal will include proposals for a critical minerals agreement with the UK.

Rishi Sunak said in the conference: “The UK and US have always pushed the boundaries of what two countries can achieve together. Over generations we have fought alongside one another, shared intelligence we don’t share with anyone else, and built the strongest investment relationship in world history.  

“So it’s natural that, when faced with the greatest transformation in our economies since the industrial revolution, we would look to each other to build a stronger economic future together.  

“The Atlantic Declaration sets a new standard for economic cooperation, propelling our economies into the future so we can protect our people, create jobs and grow our economies together.”

Both leaders also emphasised their ongoing support of Ukraine at the conference.

The deal comes after Mr Sunak announced earlier on Thursday that the UK will host the first ever global summit on AI safety this autumn.