Sunak and Biden forge partnership on AI, minerals, and Ukraine
Expressing their commitment to supporting Ukraine for an extended duration, Sunak and Biden aimed to send a resolute message to Russian leader Vladimir Putin
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (left) attends a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House on June 8, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Niall Carson – Pool/Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday (08) announced a partnership between their countries focused on advanced technologies, clean energy, and critical minerals, as they aim to strengthen their historical security alliance.
The leaders signed the “Atlantic Declaration,” which Sunak described as a first-of-its-kind economic partnership encompassing artificial intelligence and other economic and commercial relations.
The announcement came during Sunak’s official visit to the White House.
While the military and security partnerships between Britain and the US have grown stronger in response to Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and China’s assertive stance in Asia, the anticipated free trade agreement between the two nations has yet to materialise.
“Our economic partnership is an enormous strength – a source of strength that anchors everything that we do together,” Biden told reporters.
“I know some people have wondered what kind of partner Britain would be after it left the EU,” Sunak said, announcing the new deal. “I’d say, judge us by our actions. We’re as committed to our values as ever, as reliable of an ally as ever, as attractive an investment destination as ever.”
Following Britain’s exit from the EU on January 31, 2020, Sunak, who assumed office in October amidst political instability, has been actively working to enhance trading relations between the US and the UK.
Despite the limited prospects for a post-Brexit free trade agreement, Sunak has been focused on strengthening ties.
In support of this effort, Biden intends to request Congress to revise the Defense Production Act, granting British suppliers certain favourable terms similar to those provided to domestic suppliers.
In addition, Biden and Sunak initiated discussions regarding a critical minerals agreement.
This agreement aims to enable the inclusion of electric vehicle minerals sourced from Britain in the tax credits for clean vehicles, as outlined in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.
The legislation’s focus on promoting domestic manufacturing has raised concerns among US allies, including London and Seoul.
Consequently, Biden is engaged in separate discussions with European Union leaders to address this matter.
During their fourth meeting in four months, Western officials convened to investigate the responsibility behind the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, a calamity that has displaced numerous individuals and caused significant economic and environmental repercussions.
The blame for the dam’s destruction has been exchanged between Ukraine and Russia.
Expressing their commitment to supporting Ukraine for an extended duration, Sunak and Biden aimed to send a resolute message to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
They emphasised the futility of waiting for allied support for Ukraine to wane and urged Putin to withdraw his forces.
Amidst discussions, Biden and Sunak shared lighthearted moments and expressed somber reflections in the Oval Office, underscoring the historical ties between past leaders of their respective nations.
“It’s daunting to think of the conversations that our predecessors had in this room, when they had to speak of wars that they fought together, peace won together,” Sunak told Biden.
“Again, for the first time in over half a century, we face a war on the European continent, and as we’ve done before the U.S. and the UK have stood together to support Ukraine.”
During Thursday’s discussion, Sunak informed reporters that the topic of artificial intelligence safety was addressed.
He mentioned that Britain plans to host the first summit on this matter in the upcoming autumn, aiming to facilitate international collaboration in mitigating the risks associated with AI.
In light of the absence of a comprehensive trade deal, Britain has been forging individual agreements with different states and seeks to establish further “targeted agreements.”
Additionally, Sunak was also expected to seek Biden’s support for UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace’s candidacy as the next secretary-general of NATO.
Biden said that any new NATO leader would require the agreement of all alliance members.
Prior to the discussion, the British leader visited the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, engaging in meetings with congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties.