U.S. Senator Rob Portman mug shot

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Between the new United States-Mexico-Canada agreement and a substantial Phase One trade agreement with China, 2020 has already been an outstanding year for American trade.

However, further opportunities are on the horizon to knock down barriers to trade and deliver wins for our workers, farmers and businesses. 

A new opportunity arises as the United Kingdom finally leaves the European Union, drawing to a close a four-year-long process that has often been tumultuous and uncertain.

While much of the talk around Brexit has been focused on the challenges that this fundamental shift will bring, the newfound independence of the U.K. also creates the chance for a new bilateral U.S.-U.K. trade agreement that further brings together our two countries.

Thanks to our longstanding and deep economic ties, the potential benefits of a new trade agreement between our two countries are immense.

The U.K. is the fourth-largest export market for American goods and services, and our seventh-largest trading partner overall with more than $200 billion annually in trade. What’s more, we are each the other country’s largest foreign investor, with total foreign direct investment more than $1 trillion per year.

Still, the economic relationship between our two countries has not reached its full potential thanks to some remaining barriers to trade. As U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer noted in his negotiating objectives for the U.K., a new comprehensive agreement would aim to eliminate tariffs, expand market access for agricultural goods by eliminating restrictions on quota and non-tariff barriers, harmonize the services trade, and set bold rules for trade over the internet.

As we saw with the USMCA just recently signed by President Trump, these provisions are achievable and worth pursuing. 

Beyond these economic considerations, it is worth noting that the U.S. has no better ally than the U.K. When we look back on the experiences of our joint history, we find that our shared values, as well as our common political and cultural traditions, are bonds that have endured.

A new trade agreement is more than mutually beneficial economics. It is also an opportunity to reaffirm this crucial alliance and demonstrate the role that trade agreements play as ballast for strategic relationships.

This editorial first appeared on Fox News.

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