Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden will meet in-person for the first time today (Thursday) in Cornwall ahead of the UK’s G7 Summit, which begins on Friday.
The leaders are expected to agree a new ‘Atlantic Charter’, modelled on the historic joint statement made by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 setting out their goals for the post-war world.
The original Atlantic Charter included landmark agreements to promote democracy, free trade and increased opportunity for all. It was one of the greatest triumphs of UK and US relations and did more than any other agreement to shape the world order, leading directly to the creation of the UN and NATO.
The 2021 Atlantic Charter will recognise that, while the world is a very different place to 1941, the values the UK and US share remain the same. Just as our countries worked together to rebuild the world following the Second World War, so too will we apply our combined strength to the enormous challenges facing the planet today – from global defence and security to building back better from coronavirus to stopping climate change.
The new Atlantic Charter will outline eight areas where the Prime Minister and President Biden resolve to work together for the benefit of humanity. Many of these are based around our enduring values, including defending democracy, reaffirming the importance of collective security, and building a fair and sustainable global trading system.
But the Charter will also recognise more recent challenges, such as dealing with the threat posed by cyber attacks, acting urgently on climate change and to protect biodiversity and, of course, supporting the world to bring an end to, and recover from, the coronavirus pandemic.
The principled commitments made in the new Atlantic Charter will be underpinned by a series of new policy priorities expected to be agreed by the Prime Minister and President today.
These include working to open up travel between the UK and US as soon as possible. Many people in the UK and US have been prevented from seeing family and friends for over 400 days as a result of coronavirus travel restrictions. Before the outbreak of coronavirus more than 5 million Brits visited the US and over 4.5 million Americans visited the UK every year – more than any other country.
Today the Prime Minister and President Biden are expected to agree to work to relaunch UK-US travel as soon as possible through a new travel taskforce which will make recommendations on safely reopening international travel.
The taskforce will work to explore options for resuming up UK-US travel and ensure that the UK and US closely share thinking and expertise on international travel policy going forward.
Links between the UK and US are not only crucial for our people, they create and sustain jobs across and throughout our two countries.
In the last month US companies including Liberty Global, Kraft Heinz and Innova Medical Group have announced new investments into the UK worth over £10 billion which will create over 2,000 jobs. During their meeting today the Prime Minister and President will discuss ways of further enhancing our economic relationship, including through a resolution to the civil aircraft dispute.
It’s also expected that the leaders will agree to pursue a landmark bilateral technology agreement to be signed next year. The agreement will start a new era of strategic cooperation by reducing the barriers British tech firms face when trying to work with their US counterparts. By combining our shared expertise in areas like AI and quantum technology, the UK and US have the potential to transform the way we live.
The Prime Minister and President will agree to work together to harness their power to address modern challenges like climate change, fighting cancer and antimicrobial resistance, as well as strengthening our strategic advantage on the international stage as likeminded democracies.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:
To strengthen UK and US efforts to beat the coronavirus pandemic and prevent any future outbreaks, the two leaders are expected to agree to scale up joint work on genomic sequencing and variant assessments. This includes the UK Health Security Agency’s new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness linking up with its US counterpart, the proposed National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, as part of an integrated global surveillance system.
Discussions between the Prime Minister and President Biden are also expected to cover other areas of bilateral cooperation, including reinforcing their shared commitment to preserve the gains made by Good Friday/Belfast Agreement in Northern Ireland.
The plans they put in place today will also deepen the UK-US links on security and defence. Our countries already have the closest, deepest and most important bilateral security relationship in the world and in future we will more together in new domains like space and cyberspace, including work on tackling online crime and illicit finance.
The 1941 Atlantic Charter was devised at sea on board the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and US heavy cruiser USS Augusta. The modern namesake of HMS Prince of Wales will sail along the coast of Cornwall providing a fitting and auspicious backdrop for the Prime Minister’s meeting with President Biden. The HMS Prince of Wales is one of the UK’s two aircraft carriers and the largest warship ever built in British shipyards.