Biden and Sunak pledge partnership in AI, minerals, and Ukraine


Washington DC
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during a meeting with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, June 8, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

President Joe Biden of the United States and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom announced Thursday that their nations would collaborate on advanced technologies, renewable energy, and critical minerals to strengthen their historic security alliance.

As the British leader officially visited the White House, Biden and Sunak signed the "Atlantic Declaration," which Sunak characterized as a first-of-its-kind economic partnership on artificial intelligence and other economic and commercial relations.

Russia's war in Ukraine and China's more aggressive stance in Asia have strengthened the long-standing military and security partnerships between Britain and the United States, but a much-anticipated free trade agreement has not materialized.

Biden told reporters, "Our economic partnership is a tremendous source of strength that underpins everything we do together."

"I am aware that some have pondered what kind of partner the United Kingdom would be after it leaves the European Union," Sunak said, announcing the new agreement. "I would suggest judging us by our actions. We are as committed to our values as ever, as dependable an ally as ever, and as alluring a location for investment as ever."

The UK left the EU on January 31, 2020. Despite the bleak prospects for a post-Brexit free trade agreement, Sunak has pushed to strengthen trading connections between the United States and the United Kingdom since assuming office in October of last year.

Biden will request that Congress revise the Defense Production Act so that British suppliers are afforded some of the same favorable terms as domestic suppliers.

Biden and Sunak also began negotiations on a crucial minerals agreement that could allow British-produced minerals for electric vehicles to qualify for tax credits for sustainable vehicles under Biden's Inflation Reduction Act.

This law's emphasis on American-made products has angered US allies from London to Seoul, and Biden is holding distinct discussions with EU leaders on the subject.

Laughter And Sobriety 

Western officials were attempting to determine whether Russia was culpable for destroying the Nova Kakhovka dam, which has displaced thousands of people and caused significant economic and environmental damage. Ukraine and Russia have exchanged responsibility for the collapse of the dam.

Sunak and Biden, who pledged support for Ukraine for "years to come," hoped to send a strong signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that there was no purpose in waiting for allied support for Ukraine to wane to encourage Putin to withdraw his forces.

Biden and Sunak shared laughter and more serious sentiments in the Oval Office as they discussed the close ties between the two countries former leaders.

"It's intimidating to consider the conversations our predecessors had in this room when they had to discuss the wars they fought together and the peace they won together," Sunak told Biden.

Again, for the first time in more than half a century, we face a conflict on the European continent, and as we've done previously, the United States and the United Kingdom have united to support Ukraine.

Sunak, who frequently referred to the US president as "Joe" during the trip, joked that he would not create the same burden on Biden as Winston Churchill did on President Franklin D. Roosevelt by allegedly wandering around the White House residence in the middle of the night as a guest.

Sunak presented Biden with two gifts: a personalized Barbour parka and a nineteenth-century book written by Biden's ancestor.

After their meeting, Biden and Sunak participated in a simultaneous news conference, an opportunity not afforded to every foreign leader who visits the White House.

Last month, the two leaders last encountered at the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Japan. They also met in April in Belfast and March in San Diego at a trilateral event commemorating the defense partnership between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Sunak told reporters that Thursday's discussion touched on the safety of artificial intelligence and that Britain would host the first summit on the topic this fall to debate how the risks of AI can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action.

Without a larger trade agreement, the United Kingdom has concluded "targeted agreements" with individual nations and hopes to reach additional "targeted agreements."

Sunak was also anticipated to attempt to secure Biden's support for Ben Wallace's candidacy to become the next secretary-general of NATO. Biden stated that all allies must consent to any new NATO leader.

Wednesday, the British prime minister visited the United States Capitol and met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders.

Publish : 2023-06-09 10:11:00

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