Rishi Sunak’s trip across the Atlantic culminated in a rendezvous at the White House, where he engaged in a tête-à-tête with President Biden, unveiling a new economic partnership.
The Pavlovic Today reported earlier on the bipartisan optimism expressed by Speaker McCarthy and Senator Schumer regarding the economic partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom. The atmosphere in Washington towards the Tory government led by Sunak seemed to be warming up, despite Biden’s recent remarks about needing to visit Belfast to ensure the British did not screw up.
During his inaugural visit to the White House on Thursday in Washington, DC, Sunak exuded optimism. He embarked on the journey with the intention of forging a deeper partnership with Biden, who identifies himself as an Irishman.
“Prime Minister Churchill and Roosevelt met here a little over 70 years ago, and they asserted that the strength of the partnership between Great Britain and the United States was the strength of the free world. I still think there’s truth to that assertion,” remarked Biden.
Speaking of the Blair House where he spent the night, Sunak remarked during the bilat with Biden “thank you for welcoming me to the White House and for allowing me to stay in Blair House, which, I’ve got to say, the spare room in the flat in Number 10 Downing Street doesn’t quite compare.”
That was complimentary to Biden, but also not quite accurate. Whoever has been inside the No 10 knows that it is quite impressive.
The joint press conference witnessed a substantial presence of the press. Sunak delivered an eloquent speech, showcasing his polished public speaking skills, which had clearly undergone additional preparation.
“Today we have agreed the Atlantic Declaration, a new economic partnership for a new age, of a kind that has never been agreed before. Yes, a partnership that protects our citizens, but more than that, a test case for the kind of reimagined alliance,” announced Sunak.
He further stated, “And that means new investment. This week alone, 14 billion pounds of new American investment has been committed into the UK, creating thousands of jobs. It means stronger supply chains with a new action plan on clean energy. And it means reducing trade barriers in the technologies of the future with a new secure UK-U.S. data bridge, helping tens of thousands of small businesses. An agreement to work towards mutual recognition of more professional qualifications in areas like engineering.”
Sunak revealed that the UK and US are commencing negotiations on a critical minerals agreement, which, once concluded, will provide UK companies with improved access to the US market. The agreement is structured around economic security, because, said Sunak “ the challenges we face are much more economic in nature — a big subject of our discussions at the G7 recently — and the only way we’re going to meet those challenges is to work together to strengthen the resilience of our supply chains, to research the technologies of the future together”
Yet, Sunak did not get from Biden the trade-deal yet. Given Biden’s pro-EU stance, he is taking gradual steps before committing to a trade agreement with a post-Brexit nation. Nonetheless, the bipartisan optimism expressed by McCarthy and Schumer signals the potential for a future deal to materialize.
During the Q & A, President Biden was questioned by a member of the British press regarding the possibility of a British NATO Secretary General.
In response, Biden stated, “Maybe. That remains to be seen. We’re going to have to get a consensus within NATO to see that happen. They have a candidate who’s a very qualified individual. But we’re going to have a lot of discussion, not between us, but in NATO, to determine what the outcome of that will be.”
President Biden’s handling of questions on Ukraine and LGBT-transgender issues drew attention as he was observed reading answers from a prepared document placed in front of him, suggesting that he already knew the questions he would get from the two American journalists in advance.
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