HMA Letter for British-American Business Chapters

As Britain’s new Ambassador to the United States, I am delighted at the opportunity to help strengthen the transatlantic commercial relationship and our mutual prosperity.

We’re in a good place. Britain and the US remain each other’s single largest investors. Over a quarter of investment projects in the UK in 2010/11 came from the US, more than our next four largest foreign investors put together. British investment accounts for nearly a fifth of all investment in the US and is more than fifty times that invested by Brazil, India and China combined. Britain is the US’ 6th largest trading partner and the US is Britain’s largest export destination. Bilateral UK/US trade amounted to almost $200 billion in 2010, and it continues to recover. We are each other’s most productive partners in science, generating a third of global research funding. But why stop here? As President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron wrote in The Times in May last year, “we want to encourage more of this exchange of capital, goods and ideas”.

Of course, our transatlantic commercial relationship goes hand-in-hand with our economic growth and stability. These remain challenging times for the world economy. The uncertainty in the euro area and other external shocks continue to have a chilling effect in the UK, as they do elsewhere. But the proactive actions that the British Government has taken to reduce the deficit and rebuild the economy have helped restore domestic stability and bring interest rates down to record lows. The IMF and others have reiterated that the UK should not slow the pace of fiscal consolidation.

There are some encouraging early signs already. The World Bank ranks the UK as the 2nd easiest place in the world to do business. Last year, the UK was ranked in the top 10 competitive economies for the first time since 2007. The UK’s trade deficit narrowed in December 2011 to its lowest level since April 2003. In December, CPI inflation in the UK fell to 4.2%.

Trade and investment are essential to UK economic growth. For example, trade is projected to have accounted for 1.2 percentage points of UK economic growth last year. And one in four UK jobs depends on business overseas. So addressing the supply side constraints will help us unlock more potential. Like decisions the British Government has already taken to cut corporate tax and regulation, to provide £21 billion to ease the flow of credit to small and medium-sized businesses, to invest in skills and education, and unlock private and public investment in UK infrastructure. We want Britain to be seen as open for business, with a strong, free market economy built on rewarding success and competitiveness. The way our economies are so intertwined, Britain’s prosperity will benefit America’s prosperity too. I would like to thank the business community for our continued partnership. Working with you and promoting UK and U.S. trade and investment remain the top priorities for the British Embassy and all of our Consulates in the US. I look forward to working with you during my time in Washington.

Sir Peter Westmacott, KCMG, LVO

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

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