New Windsor Framework raises hopes for UK's prospects of US trade deal and CPTPP accession

Thu 2 Mar 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Shot of the US presidential building White House lawn

A previously frosty relationship between the UK and US appears to be thawing after the White House reacted positively to the new Windsor Framework.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced the agreement on Tuesday (28 February), bringing to an end a long-running dispute over how to manage goods’ movements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland while respecting the EU’s single market.

US president Joe Biden welcomed the new agreement initially, calling it “an essential step to ensuring that the hard-earned peace and progress of the Good Friday Agreement is preserved”.

Asked about the deal at a press briefing, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said:

“We believe that this will help improve the prosperity of both the EU and the UK, and will open up all kinds of new avenues for trade that were somewhat at risk.”

‘Not getting ahead’

However, he stopped short of saying the framework would improve the prospects of a new trade deal between the UK and the US, telling reporters that he was “not gonna get ahead of where we are right now”, reports the Independent.

President Biden had warned that the US would not agree to trade talks with the UK should Brexit put the Good Friday agreement in jeopardy, reports the Daily Express.

Following Sunak’s meeting with von der Leyen, Biden congratulated those “who worked tirelessly to find a way forward that protects Northern Ireland’s place within the UK’s internal market as well as the EU’s single market”.

He added: “I am confident the people and businesses of Northern Ireland will be able to take full advantage of the economic opportunities created by this stability and certainty, and the US stands ready to support the region’s vast economic potential.”

Previous talks

The government’s hopes for a quick post-Brexit trade deal with the US were put on hold when Biden was less keen on the idea than his predecessor, president Donald Trump.

With talks stalled, the UK took the alternative route of seeking deals with individual US states as a means of boosting economic relations, as previously covered in the IOE&IT Daily Update.

The UK and Welsh governments have hosted a delegation of eleven economic development leaders from across Indiana in the past week, building on the state deal signed last year.

Then-international trade secretary Kemi Badenoch emphasised the importance of UK-US trade in a speech to the Atlantic Future Forum during her first overseas trip in the role.

In a speech earlier this week the business and trade secretary said removing trade barriers had helped get Welsh lamb exported to the US for the first time in 20 years.


Negotiations are also expected to accelerate over another key part of the UK’s post-Brexit future.

According to the FT, the Windsor Framework could also have a knock-on effect on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), citing previous worries by members of the bloc over the contentious protocol dispute.

Politico reports that the UK is on the “verge of reaching an agreement in principle” to accede to the pact, which includes Canada, Chile and Vietnam amongst its members.

The CPTPP has a combined market of over 500m people and is represents 13% of global GDP, and the UK has made membership a priority over the last couple of years, with a number of ministerial visits taking place.