Negotiations between the US and the UK were due to start in March, but were interrupted by coronavirus bans and travel restrictions. Britain is conducting separate trade negotiations with the European Union on video.
On China – the source of a public divide between the US and the UK over Huawei’s role in 5G networks – Pierce said the UK and America were aligned on issues of freedom of navigation and human rights, as well as Internet regulation. But she stressed “there will always be a differentiation” between the two countries’ approaches to Beijing. “We don’t have a common policy.”
Pierce called for “improvement instead of improvement” of the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom. She cited work between US and UK companies on a coronavirus vaccine, including Kentucky BioProcessing, which is owned by British American Tobacco and plans to produce 1 to 3 million vaccines a week within months.
While Pierce praised America’s leadership of the G7, including the decision to include health ministers in meetings, she praised other political issues less
“We want the multilateral institutions to work,” said Pierce, which means that during the current pandemic, the World Health Organization must do its job before reforms or examinations are carried out. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has ordered that US funding for the WHO be stopped after being accused of being “China-centered”.
Pierce also advocated that global institutions could evolve to give China and other emerging countries a bigger voice, and described Covid-19 recovery packages as an “incredibly important” opportunity to “greening economies”, including in developing countries , to accelerate.
Pierce summed up Britain’s diplomatic challenge in America by alluding to President Trump’s insatiable appetite for television news: “There are only so many countries that viewers want to see on their television screens.” However, she hopes that switching to digital communication during the pandemic will give her the opportunity to communicate more directly with the American public.