News story

Joint Statement of UK International Trade Secretary Dr Fox MP and United States Trade Representative Ambassador Lighthizer

The UK and US Trade and Investment Working Group announces new dialogue aimed at helping SMEs, and joint educational resources for protection of intellectual property.


Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, and United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, met on Wednesday (14 March) to discuss shared efforts to continue strengthening the trade and investment relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.

In their meeting they discussed:

  • the importance of ongoing work to ensure continuity and certainty for US and UK businesses as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union
  • the continuing progress of the Trade and Investment Working Group, which will meet next week in Washington, in deepening our present, and defining our future, trade relationship
  • efforts to promote free and fair trade, including through the elimination trade-distorting policies and practices around the world and tackling severe overcapacity

Dr Fox and Ambassador Lighthizer also made several announcements on the publication of toolkits for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the inaugural meeting of the US-UK Dialogue, a new brochure for SMEs, and the conclusion of the Mutual Recognition Agreement.

Intellectual property toolkits

Both governments published toolkits to help US and UK SMEs protect and enforce their intellectual property (IP) in each market. The UK and US teams have developed these joint educational tools and resources for small and medium-sized enterprises to support the export of creative and innovative products and services between the 2 countries:

US-UK Dialogue meeting

On March 20, the inaugural meeting of the US-UK Dialogue on SMEs will take place in connection with the working group meetings. This will bring small and medium businesses and stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic together with government officials to identify ways to deepen trade and investment ties and strengthen co-operation on issues of mutual interest to small and medium-sized enterprises.

SME brochure

Next week at the SME Dialogue, both governments will publish a joint brochure for SMEs on resources for doing business in the US and UK. This resource provides targeted information to SMEs and demonstrates our early commitment to help SMEs benefit from deepening US-UK trade.

Mutual Recognition Agreement

Dr Fox and Ambassador Lighthizer recognised the successful conclusion of a Mutual Recognition Agreement. The agreement is between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), representing US state-level regulators. This agreement demonstrates a practical way in which the United States and the UK, with similar high-quality standards, can co-operate closely to facilitate trade with each other.

Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox MP said:

Ambassador Lighthizer and I enjoyed a constructive meeting that touched on our shared ambition for a far deeper trade relationship both now and once the UK has left the EU.

We are committed to maintaining momentum during next week’s UK-US Trade and Investment Group meeting in Washington, D.C. The Working Group discussions have agreed new measures to benefit small business in both our countries with the launch of SME Dialogue and the toolkit on IP protection for SMEs.

We also spoke about the United States’ planned imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Ambassador Lighthizer said:

Secretary of State Fox and I had very productive discussions on how to deepen our already extensive trade relationship – both now and when the UK leaves the EU.

We are looking forward to hosting the UK team next week here in Washington for the third meeting of the US-UK Trade and Investment Working Group. This working group is an important element of our shared agenda to achieve free and fair trade, address the challenges faced by the global trading system, and to create good-paying jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

The launch of both the SME Dialogue and the toolkit on IP Protection for SMEs are 2 practical outcomes of our discussions so far. We look forward to continuing to expand opportunities for our businesses and workers, including for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Published 15 March 2018