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Thune, Coons Introduce Legislation to Kick-Start Trade Negotiations with United Kingdom

The bipartisan legislation builds on the common values and interests of the U.S. and U.K. to help pursue a new bilateral trade agreement

March 2, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) today introduced the Undertaking Negotiations on Investment and Trade for Economic Dynamism (UNITED) Act. The legislation would authorize the administration to negotiate and conclude a trade agreement with the United Kingdom to open export opportunities for businesses of all sizes, increase the resilience of critical supply chains, and advance economic prosperity for people in both countries. The UNITED Act also requires the administration to work closely with Congress throughout the process to ensure that any agreement advances congressional trade policy priorities.

“Now is the time to strengthen our economic and strategic relationship with the United Kingdom in order to create new opportunities for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses,” said Thune. “A comprehensive free trade agreement with the U.K., one of our closest allies, would reduce costs for consumers, improve supply chain resilience, and open new markets for U.S. producers. This bipartisan bill marks an important step toward a strong and hopefully long-standing trade agreement with the world’s fifth-largest economy, and it serves to advance the historic and special relationship between our two countries into the 21st century.”

“The United Kingdom is one of our largest trading partners and closest allies. A comprehensive free trade agreement with the United Kingdom would advance our country’s strategic and economic interests while creating new economic opportunities for Delaware workers, businesses, and consumers,” said Coons. “This bill demonstrates bipartisan congressional support for restarting negotiations with the U.K., and would pave the way for a trade deal that sets ambitious international standards for our shared priorities on climate, labor protections, digital trade, intellectual property rights, and many other areas.”

The bill’s introduction comes shortly after the U.K. and European Union announced a new agreement on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland. The deal promises to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and advance peace, stability, and prosperity in Northern Ireland.  

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2020, set high trade standards in a number of areas. The UNITED Act encourages the executive branch to build on those standards in negotiations with the U.K. in order to ensure that U.S. workers and companies can compete on a level playing field.