NOTE: Iowa Farm Bureau will be taking 22 members and staff to the U.K. in June for its annual Market Study Tour. The goal of the trip is to get a better understanding of the impacts of Brexit on U.S., U.K., and E.U. trade and relationships. Please contact Stacy Stevens at for information regarding applying for future market study tours. 

The U.K. has now stuck its fourth state-level trade deal. Trade talks between the Biden administration and the U.K. are on hold, so the U.K. is reaching out to individual states to enhance its trade prospects with the United States. U.K. Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch noted in parliament that “the U.S. is not doing free-trade agreements with any countries; this has nothing to do specifically with the U.K.”

U.K. International Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston signed a pact with Oklahoma focused on boosting cross-border investment in green technologies like carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). The pact with Oklahoma is the fourth state-level deal after those with Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The U.K. introduced this strategy after talks for a comprehensive deal fell apart at the end of the Trump administration. The U.K. is currently in talks with Utah, Texas, and California for state-level deals. While these trade deals do not affect national issues such as tariffs, sanitary, and phytosanitary issues, they can address working relationships for professionals who need cross-jurisdictional work permits and approvals. It could soon be easier for British architects and engineers to work in some U.S. states than in continental Europe as the U.K. works to strike deals with individual U.S. states to get professional qualifications recognized. 

Huddleston recently said that the U.S. is the U.K.’s largest trading partner, and these wins reflect the successful twin-track approach to trade with the U.S., strengthening links with individual states in parallel with work with the federal government.

Negotiations for a comprehensive trade deal between Britain and the U.S. are in a holding pattern right now. And mutual recognition of qualifications for those working in Britain’s services sector was a notable omission in last year's post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the E.U., much to the consternation of the industry.

The U.K. government is already forging ahead with agreements with Maine, Idaho, and other small states through bilateral memoranda of understanding (MoU) on professional qualifications.