UK-US Trade Relations Contents


1.The United States of America (US) is the UK’s largest single-country trading partner and largest contributor of foreign direct investment (FDI).1 In 2015, the US accounted for 19.7% and 11.1% of UK’s total exports and total imports, respectively.2 The Government has identified the US as one of several countries with whom it wants to pursue a free trade agreement (FTA) after Brexit. The purpose of this inquiry has been to examine UK-US trade relations, the Government’s proposal to pursue a UK-US FTA in the future, and the benefits and challenges of such an agreement. This Report considers the implications of pursuing an FTA for the UK’s wider trade policy, and seeks to explore the issues which could arise in the course of negotiating the agreement.

2.The Report is structured as follows. Chapter 2 considers where an FTA with the US sits within the Government’s overarching trade policy strategy. Chapter 3 examines the potential macro-economic benefits of a UK-US FTA. Chapter 4 explores regulatory issues which may arise in the context of a UK-US FTA, and examines how issues of alignment and divergence can be managed in the UK’s trade policy. Chapter 5 considers case studies of certain sectors, and the potential benefits and detriments of a UK-US FTA for trade in goods in those sectors. Chapter 6 addresses the role of trade in services for a UK-US trade agreement, and the various benefits and barriers which the UK may encounter. Chapter 7 considers the lessons that can be learned from the experience of the European Union (EU) and US negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (an FTA that was being negotiated, but was not concluded, between the EU and US).

3.In the course of our inquiry we took oral evidence from 17 witnesses, including the Minister of State for Trade Policy, Rt Hon Greg Hands MP, at six evidence sessions. In addition, we received 37 written submissions. Our predecessor committee commenced an inquiry into the same topic in February 2017. Before the inquiry was closed due to the General Election, the previous committee took oral evidence from three witnesses at two evidence sessions. In addition, it received 73 written submissions. We would like to thank all of those who took the time to provide us with evidence across both inquiries.

1 Confederation of British Industry (TER0028)

Published: 1 May 2018