Mark O’Connell – 13 Feb, 2020 US Perspective

There may be trouble ahead, but when there’s moonlight and music and love and romance….after 2 days at SIDO conference in DC I really feel animated by the level of interest and engagement by US States towards the UK and Europe around FTAs and international trade in general.

It seems like all the trade tensions, phoney or real have really lit up the appetite for State level initiatives to secure and enlarge the relationships between companies and regions in the new world order. I have been surprised and impressed by US States knowledge of all matters BREXIT and EU FTA as well as the Fed level agencies commitment to provide the resources and expertise to help US companies navigate and succeed in the changing landscape.

Last night, as the EU Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis put it so well at the reception in his tasteful residence (symbolically bookended between the Obama and Kusher homes in Pennsylvania Ave) when we trade containers between our nations, it’s not just our products inside, it’s also our values. The shared standards of the US and Europe on quality, safety, environment and labour will transcend and vanquish in our trade negotiations.

And heck, trade and investment has been flourishing for decades between our continents in the absence of any FTAs, so my advice to negotiators would be not to mess this up! And in the meantime I see lots of State to Country, City to City and Cluster to Cluster bilaterals that will grow and enhance the underpinnings of transatlantic business  alliances.

United we stand, divided we fall.