Building the coalition for a US-UK trade deal

Being married to an American and loving US politics, I’m a regular visitor to the United States. Even for me though, twenty one nights on the road is a long time to be away. But it was worth it. Having the opportunity to explain Brexit and make the case for the US-UK trade deal in seven states was an incredible experience.

My first stop was the Milken Institute global conference in Los Angeles, California. Having the opportunity to hear speakers ranging from George W Bush and Joe Biden, to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen was extraordinary. The highlight though was appearing on a panel moderated by Tony Blair on populism, discussing whether it is a passing fad, or the start of a new political era. You can watch my contribution here or, for those of you with less time, here’s a clip which started trending on Twitter.

In between conferences, I made short visits to Arizona, Michigan and North Carolina. I enjoyed a balmy 103 degrees in Phoenix, when visiting the Goldwater Institute, before experiencing torrential rain in Detroit and Midland, where I spoke to two groups of supporters of the Mackinac Centre. In Raleigh, speaking at the John Locke Foundation, I made the case that Brexit was ‘Good For North Carolina, Good For World Trade, and Great For Global Prosperity’.

Arriving in Colorado Springs, I felt like I was coming home, seeing old friends from the Heritage Foundation at their resource bank meeting. I addressed a private dinner of state think-tank CEOs on Political Courage, before addressing a session on marketing and communications.  

The final leg of the trip was more familiar territory to me. The highlight of my time in New York was addressing their ‘Monday Meeting’ of centre right policymakers, and being interviewed on CNBC by Wilfred Frost. In Washington DC, Grover Norquist, the head of American’s for Tax Reform, was out of town, so I was invited to chair the Wednesday Meeting (the first centre right coalition meeting of its kind) before appearing on C-SPAN to take questions from viewers. 

On top of these public appearances were a whole series of meetings building a coalition for a US-UK trade deal. This is an endeavour which I’m proud to be working on with Shanker Singham and the Special Trade Commission.

At the Legatum Institute, we believe that free trade is a key driver for taking countries from poverty to prosperity. It is also important for developed countries too, to maintain economic growth and their national wealth. A trade deal would be a huge win for both the UK and the US, and we are proud to be leading the charge on both sides of the Atlantic to lay the groundwork for a deal to be agreed in the coming years. 

MEDIA FROM MATTHEW'S VISIT