UK signs fourth US state-level trade pact with Oklahoma

Wed 19 Apr 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

UK and US flags

The UK has agreed its fourth trade deal with a US state, the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) announced yesterday (18 April).

Trade minister Nigel Huddleston signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the mid-western state of Oklahoma, during a visit to Washington.

The minister has also welcomed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) between UK and US architect regulation bodies in the same announcement.

Pair of ‘wins’

Huddleston said: “The US is our largest trading partner, and these wins reflect our successful twin-track approach to trade with the US, strengthening links with individual states in parallel with work with the federal government.”

The UK currently exports $174.4m worth of goods to Oklahoma, which the DBT hopes to increase via this agreement.

One stated objective of the MoU is to boost trade in green technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).

Trade in services

The MRA makes it easier for UK architects to work in certain states by reducing testing requirements and shortening the time it takes to get a license.

The MRA was signed between the UK’s Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the US’s National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) on 16 February.

Henriette Gjaerde, trade and customs stakeholder relationship specialist at the Institute of Export & International Trade, said :

“The MRA will unlock opportunities for architects from the UK and participating US states to collaborate and work on projects together, expand their businesses and access new markets.

“By allowing architects to be recognised as qualified professionals in both countries with fewer tests and a simpler licensing process, the MRA will help promote the sharing of knowledge and best practice between the UK and US architecture industry, which can lead to new ideas, innovation and professional development opportunities in both countries.”

The list of states participating includes the three of the five largest by GDP – Texas, California and Illinois – as well as economically smaller jurisdictions such as Wyoming, Oregon and Arizona.

Discussions ongoing

New York and Florida are not participating in the scheme, although the NCARB states that it is “actively discussing” the MRA with other jurisdictions.

A similar agreement was recently signed between UK and Australian and New Zealand bodies and is due to come into force on 25 May.

Wider strategy

According to the announcement, the government is currently negotiating similar trade deals with Texas, Utah and California.

As reported previously by the IOE&IT Daily Update, the UK signed state-level agreements with Indiana, South Carolina and North Carolina in 2022 as part of a strategy to pave the way for a larger deal with the whole US.

Politico reports that prime minister Rishi Sunak had pressed president Joe Biden to resume negotiations on a UK-US trade deal, but that Biden’s administration has indicated they won’t start trade talks yet.

Business and trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, said in parliament on Monday (17 April) that this was not a fault on the part of the UK and that the US was not conducting trade deal negotiations with any other nations at the moment.