States could bypass hesitant DC bureaucrats and forge their own ties with Eager UK

UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is meeting with her counterparts in Washington this week to help forge stronger trade ties across the Atlantic, with a focus on agriculture and technology. Presumably, the UK team will be keen to explain the benefits of the UK’s divergence from the EU.

But there is another round of meetings that I think could be at least as important: UK Minister of State for Trade Penny Mordaunt and her counterparts will meet with leaders of five US states.

Mordaunt will visit California, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Oklahoma. She will meet with governors, local representatives, commissioners and business leaders “to discuss priority areas for future cooperation, such as services, digital and agriculture”.

Heads of state should seize this opportunity. Companies in high-tech industries, manufacturing and retailing suffer from shortages in the supply chain, inflation and tariffs. The “Buy American” provisions threaten further cost increases for government projects. Getting to know more UK buyers and sellers can only bring more choice and more opportunity.

The UK is discovering its new found freedom from some of the most restrictive EU rules and regulations, especially in the area of ​​agriculture and data flows. This should be good news for U.S. agricultural producers and businesses who, for years, struggled with a myriad of technical barriers to agricultural trade and data location requirements, as the Representative’s office most recently described. American to trade.

Developing trade is nothing new for governments. Almost all states have fully-fledged trade development offices and are in a good position to help businesses find new opportunities.

But it’s not just about increasing US soybean exports. Closer transatlantic ties could include greater use of everyone’s professional workforce: engineers, lawyers, and healthcare workers, to name a few. The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points last month to 4.2%, yet 5 million fewer people are in the U.S. workforce today compared to before the pandemic. Some may return, but many take early retirement. Wherever we can find the right people to fill these jobs for American companies, we should welcome them.

A recent LinkedIn report on the U.S. job market shows that the top 15 jobs are also the areas in need of them the most. E-commerce workers, financial experts, healthcare support staff, business development and sales professionals, and digital marketing are just a few of the areas that existing US businesses need to work in. aid. Some of them are the same occupations that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports as having a relatively large share of older workers.

Take a look across America. Hospitals need access to medical devices, personal protective equipment and more nurses – Indiana recently had to call in the National Guard to support its hospitals. Older Americans need more home care aides. Schools and universities need more teachers. Local governments and town planners must have access to raw materials, construction equipment, engineers and workers. States should step up pressure for immigration reform and the establishment of legal channels allowing foreign workers to access employment.

Instead, Washington’s trade policy is dragged into heightened protectionism – for example in steel, timber, and solar panels – that raise commodity prices even beyond supply chain shortages. and inflation. “Buying American” may sound good to the voter, but American businesses need the freedom to source the products that best meet their needs at globally competitive prices.

Washington appears to be heading in a different direction from the rest of the country. As Biden wants to develop government, Americans are increasingly returning to a preference for a hands-off government approach. A recent Gallup poll shows that 52% of Americans think the government is trying to do too much, up from 41% since last year.

If the government is to get involved, it should be to open up opportunities for American businesses, not to shut them down. US states should take advantage of the UK delegation’s visit to identify new opportunities for both sides. Increasing US-UK trade in agriculture, technology, and even professional services will create opportunities for state voters while strengthening their economic foundations, even in the face of intransigence. from Washington.

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