Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : World Trade Organisation’s USA Trade Policy Review, December 2022 – UK statement [December 2022]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 14 December 2022.

The UK’s Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva, Ambassador Simon Manley, gave a statement during the USA’s 15th WTO Trade Policy Review.

  1. Muchas gracias, Señor Presidente. May I join others in warmly welcoming the United States’ delegation, led by our distinguished colleague Ambassador María Pagán, and her colleagues both from here and in DC to this, their 15th Trade Policy Review. Thank you very much also to our distinguished Discussant Ambassador Spencer. I’m glad to see that they both got the memo about the dress code for this morning, President. There is still time to pick up your Santa suit so that this afternoon you can all be colour-coordinated.
  2. Let me start with a word about the ties that bind the UK and the United States of America. Normally, we don’t just sit next to each other – and I realise we are a bit further apart this morning. Our nations have a deep and unique relationship grounded in shared history, values, and ambitions. We do more together than any other two countries in the world, with exceptional cooperation at every level of society, culture, defence, intelligence, and the economy.
  3. Our Heads of Government have made clear their commitment to open societies and open markets as the best way to deliver tangible benefits to ordinary citizens. And of course, picking up the Ambassador’s comments, we have stood side by side once again over these last nine months in support of our Ukrainian friends in their fight for their freedom – and ours.
  4. We have worked together to support our businesses to trade and ensure our consumers enjoy a greater variety and range of products and services. In parallel, the UK is also strengthening ties with individual states to deepen our overall trade and investment relationship.
  5. Chair, the US is at the heart of this Organisation and its leadership is paramount to the survival and the success of the WTO. As the former US Trade Rep and World Bank President Bob Zoellick said, “It is in the self-interest of the major developed states – and in the global interest – to be, with others, architects of the future.” Since the creation of the GATT 75 years ago this year, the US has always had a crucial role in shaping the global trading system.
  6. We welcome the US recognition that trade can, and indeed should, be a force for good. We support President Biden’s emphasis on democracy and open societies, and we believe that free and fair trade lies close to the heart of these. So today I want to say to our US friends that the WTO needs the US, more than ever. US leadership – visible leadership – is crucial to global prosperity and to the effective functioning of this Organization. So I urge the US to join us in setting out ambition and engagement across all the WTO dossiers.
  7. And we don’t have to look so far back to see that an engaged United States is beneficial to this organisation. The US played a critical role during MC12 in reaching the conclusion of that historic first stage of the fisheries subsidies’ negotiations, for which we should all be thankful. We also appreciate the constructive role it played in helping to secure agreement on the Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity – such a crucial issue to members across this Organization.
  8. One area where the United Kingdom – like, I suspect, others here this morning – believes we need to make more progress is the dispute settlement system. Without a fully-functioning dispute settlement system we are all left unable to fully realise the benefits of the agreements we have negotiated. We welcome the US’ initiative to convene an informal process on Dispute Settlement reform.
  9. But we must now deliver on our mandate given by our Ministers to achieve a fully and well-functioning system as soon as possible, and by 2024. To get there, it’s incumbent upon all of us to come together with focus, with urgency, and with pragmatism, in order to reach an agreement on meaningful reform. Needless to say, the United States of America has a key role to play to help find a solution that can command the support of all Members of this Organization.
  10. Chair, since their last TPR in 2018, the world has faced some of the biggest challenges of our time. We are all still grappling with the economic and health impacts of the pandemic which highlights just how important it is to keep trade flowing and supply chains open. And our future is more than ever endangered by climate change.
  11. COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh has given us all more to do. We all face the challenge of transitioning to a greener economy and ensuring the sustainability of our supply chains. I want to salute the Biden Administration, on behalf of our Government for its ground-breaking Inflation Reduction Act this past August, and its far-sighted environmental provisions. At the same time, our US colleagues will know that my Government, like others here, have serious concerns about some of the policies in the Act which will inadvertently harm British businesses and impact global supply chains in batteries, electric vehicles and wider renewables.
  12. It is in all our interests to ensure that we don’t disrupt trading links in key industries that are essential for us all if we want to reach net zero. We are in touch with the US Administration about our concerns and I fervently hope a way through can be found. We should all work together to ensure we can achieve our shared ambitions for a greener and more sustainable future in a way that preserves the multilateral trading system and respects WTO rules.
  13. Let me also emphasise that in our advance written questions, we paid particular attention to asking the United States about procurement barriers, including Made in America initiatives and Buy American policies. We look forward to continuing to work with the US Administration to ensure fair and transparent government procurement, through the WTO Government Procurement Agreement and in our bilateral engagement.
  14. Chair, let me just highlight just one of the many examples of the recent successes in our bilateral relationship supporting businesses, consumers and workers on both sides of what we call ‘the pond.’
  15. In early October we saw British lamb shipped to the US for the first time in 25 years after we worked together to lift the long-standing US ban on imports of British lamb. This means that over 300 million lucky US consumers will now be able to enjoy the UK’s succulent world-renowned lamb for the first time in a generation – washed down, I hope with a glass of fine Californian Zinfandel.
  16. And we were pleased to see our US-UK Dialogues on the Future of Atlantic Trade mentioned in the United States’ Government Report. The dialogues in Baltimore and Aberdeen earlier this year identified a range of collaboration opportunities including digital trade, support for SMEs and protecting labour and environmental standards. We look forward to future engagement with the United States on our shared priorities.
  17. Chair, more than 80 years ago, our two great nations issued the Atlantic Charter, outlining our joint vision for the future of the world amidst the chaos of the Second World War. In that Charter, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill promised to respect their existing obligations and advance the enjoyment by all States, no matter how big or small, of access to the trade on equal terms. Today, this promise needs to be upheld more than ever, not just by the US and UK, but by all of us who care about our common future. Thank you very much.