Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden celebrate restored ‘special relationship’ with broad economic partnership

It’s not the free trade deal London dreamed of, but Britain’s Prime Minister and US President Joe Biden announced a new economic partnership on Thursday (June 8) and celebrated a newfound friendship.

A “Atlantic Declaration” presented to the White House by the two leaders provides, among other things, for enhanced cooperation in the defense industry, civil nuclear power and the supply of metals essential to the energy transition.

On this last point, Rishi Sunak has obtained from the White House that British industrialists benefit in part from the“Inflation Reduction Act”, Joe Biden’s gigantic subsidy plan, which unashamedly promotes the “made in America”.

In terms of defence, the American president has promised to open the American market to British industrialists in order to boost the development of sophisticated weapons such as hypersonic missiles. The agreement between the two countries, tailored to deal with China, also covers artificial intelligence, energy security and the reliability of supply chains.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Why is the UK at the forefront of aid to Ukraine?

” New challenges “

“We face new challenges to international stability: authoritarian states such as Russia and China, disturbing technologies, non-state actors and transnational issues like climate change”the statement read.

“We have no closer allies” than the British, Joe Biden said in the Oval Office, saying with a thumbs-up that the relationship traditionally referred to as “special” between the two countries was “always very good”. It is in any case much more fluid than with Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, to hear the exchanges of courtesies of the two men at the White House.

“We will put our values ​​at the center of our action for the British and the Americans”, promised Rishi Sunak, at the opening of the discussion with the American president. London dreamed of signing a trade agreement with Washington after Brexit, but had to give it up in the face of a Biden administration which has turned its back on the dogma of free trade and which now closely links economic interests to strategic considerations.

On a lighter note, Rishi Sunak thanked Joe Biden for hosting him at Blair House, a residence close to the White House, and promised to behave better than his illustrious predecessor Winston Churchill, who had been hosted at the House. Blanche in 1941, and whose eccentricities had, according to historians, greatly upset First Lady Eleonor Roosevelt.

Succession at the head of NATO

Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak have already seen each other several times on the sidelines of international summits or to launch a major military collaboration with Australia. The United States has repeatedly praised the commitment of the British in supporting Ukraine.

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The subject obviously remains major, after the partial destruction of a major dam in Ukraine and at a time when speculation on the counter-offensive promised by kyiv is gaining momentum. According to several British media, the Prime Minister wants to take advantage of their good understanding to push Joe Biden for the candidacy of his Minister of Defense, Ben Wallace, for the post of Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO ).

The American president is in full diplomatic negotiations before the annual summit of the Alliance, which will be held next month in Vilnius (Lithuania), during which Westerners will want to send a strong message on Ukraine. He will receive on Monday the current secretary general, the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, whose mandate ends in October and for whom Washington has nothing but praise. Joe Biden also received Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen last Monday, whose name is also cited among the possible successors of Jens Stoltenberg. NATO has never been run by men alone.

The World with AFP


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