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Sussex meets with Georgetown to discuss the future of US-UK trade

A delegation from Sussex travelled to Washington DC over the weekend to meet with colleagues at Georgetown University to discuss the future of trade between the United States and the United Kingdom. 

The meeting took place at a key moment in US-UK trade relations. Both US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May have stated their keenness to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement after Brexit. President Trump’s recent announcement that the United States would impose taxes on imports of steel and aluminium has added further interest. 

The meeting was conceived by Sussex alumnus, Dr Spiros Dimolitsas, Senior Vice President for Research & Chief Technology Officer at Georgetown University, and Professor Rorden Wilkinson, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education and Innovation) at Sussex, as a way of bringing together international trade experts to think through issues of mutual concern as well as to engage policymakers on the issue.

Pietra Rivoli, Vice-Dean of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown, said: "Georgetown was delighted to host the team of scholars from the UK Trade Policy Observatory at Sussex. We have many overlapping interests and we very much look forward to a long-term cooperative relationship where we can continue to have both academic and policy-focussed discussions around the many critical trade issues facing both the US and the UK.”

While in Georgetown, the delegation also met with a high-level team from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Executive Office of the President which is responsible for negotiating directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, to resolve disputes, and to participate in global trade organizations. 

Dr Emily Lydgate, Lecturer in Environmental Law at Sussex, remarked: “With Trump and Brexit, trade issues are being reported in the media on a daily basis and the UK and the US are at the forefront of shaping the global trade landscape. It was therefore very useful to hear directly from academics and policymakers on the other side of the Atlantic and share our perspectives.”

Professor Wilkinson said: “This meeting is part of the warm collaborative relationship we have with Georgetown University that enables both of our university communities to engage with and learn from each other in areas where we have similar issues and face common challenges.

"It connects colleagues in BMEc at Sussex with the McDonough School of Business, and those in the Schools of Global Studies and Law, Politics, and Sociology with the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown. We were able to advance our emerging research collaborations as well as to explore joint opportunities in external engagement and education.

Marc L. Busch, a Professor at Georgetown University and an expert in international trade policy and law, who organised the meeting on the Georgetown side, commented: “The meeting stood out for its depth and scope. We engaged on topics ranging from the compatibility of regulatory regimes to questions about public support for free trade.

"Our hope is to share these insights with government officials on both sides of the pond, and our shared commitment to dealing with some of the most complicated issues in US-UK trade, and global trade more generally.”

Alan Winters, Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory, remarked: “Both Georgetown and the UK Trade Policy Observatory have great expertise in international trade policy. Together, we have identified several opportunities as well as challenges for future UK-US trade relations. We have designed an agenda for policy and research work that will help governments to make the best of the new circumstances, and we will begin collaboratively working on this immediately.”

Georgetown University representatives:

University of Sussex representatives:

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By: Katherine Davies
Further information: https://blogs.sussex.ac.uk/uktpo/
Last updated: Friday, 9 March 2018

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