In a 13 May 2013 free trade discussion between American President Obama and UK Prime Minister Cameron, the US President stated that “everything is on the table” including Syria dealings, Iran’s nuclear programme, and Britain’s relationship with the EU. What Conservatives fought hard for in the mid-1990s Obama reiterated saying what the US prefers is, a strong UK in a strong European Union, not an isolated UK outside a broken-backed EU or, succinctly put, “We believe that our capacity to partner with a United Kingdom that is active, robust, outward-looking and engaged with the world is hugely important to our own interests”.

In May, Prime Minister Cameron flew to Washington to discuss the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations the EU will initiate. Successful negotiations have the potential to significantly expand EU-US free-trade and single open market, and leverage global standards. For Britain, a decision to exit from the EU would mean succumbing to unconditional imposed terms of Washington and Brussels as outsiders. The UK would have to renegotiate numerous existing EU trade, aid, and investment agreements on its own without the benefit of a bloc.

Additionally, the US benefits from the UK’s European involvement. “Parties that want to pull Britain out of Europe have no idea about Britain’s role in the world.” Beyond business, industry, and investments, an American ally that has EU support and clout in the UN to back US policies such as Iranian weapons programmes and a stagnant global economy is worth millions. The UK understands US politics much better than Germany and France. Similarly, the UK understands leveraging Europe in matters of international security and peace much better than the US.

The G8 trade summit is a forum for good intentions and goodwill. No binding agreements are made or expected. Prime Minister Cameron hopes to propose growth-boosting EU-US trade, although France is presently delaying it until they are reassured protection of its cultural industries.