It was no surprise to see so much media scrutiny around President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Britain, and there is no doubt that the special relationship between the UK and the US will remain in sharp focus over the coming years.
Whatever form that relationship takes in the future, it’s impossible to ignore a fundamental truth: Transatlantic trade will continue to be an asset for both sides.
Amid all the talk of potential trade deals, it’s our responsibility to keep our eye on the ball.
The priority for us is simple – to continue building on the success story that is the trading relationship between our two countries in financial and professional services, as well as tech.
Together, we are already in a position of strength. We have more than £600bn invested in each other’s economies, while one million Americans work for British companies in the US and vice versa.
The UK is the world’s leading exporter of financial services, and while a fifth of our trade surplus in the sector was generated by the trade with the US, there are clearly still areas of untapped potential from which we can both benefit.
As I lead a delegation of some of the world’s most exciting fintech startups to Chicago and Atlanta next week, as part of my second visit to North America as lord mayor, I will be looking ahead to the future to understand how we can further collaborate.
We have plenty to offer as a leading global hub for innovation and as the home to more than a tenth of the world’s fintech industry.
Partners there are interested to know more about how we can share expertise in emerging areas of the industry.
In Atlanta, for example, where more than 70 per cent of payment transactions are handled globally, there is an opportunity together to find ways of streamlining operations and improving customer experiences through new technology.
Meanwhile in Chicago, I’ll be meeting representatives from Aon – the world’s largest insurance broker – who want to know how UK insurtech can help them to futureproof the sector and produce an offer to consumers which is both smarter and more efficient.
There are, of course, questions about the global framework within which our financial services trading relationship will operate. Our policy chair Catherine McGuinness has visited both Washington and New York in recent weeks, where she has been building consensus for continued regulatory cooperation for the years to come.
In the meantime, though, the appetite from across the Atlantic to collaborate with the UK’s financial services sector has never been greater.
While other issues have been the focus of media attention, London has gone about positioning itself at the forefront of the emerging trends in technology that will maintain and cement its status as a global financial leader.
At a time of political flux, the partnership between the US and the UK remains as important than ever.