Atlantic Declaration expected to bring UK companies closer to US economic sphere

Atlantic Declaration: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Joe Biden walking on stage to deliver joint address
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UK and US have announced a new joint ‘Atlantic Declaration’ - a wide-ranging series of agreements and measures to further unite the two countries’ economies and tech sectors closer together.

Both governments have now reached an agreement in principle over a ‘data bridge’ between the UK and the US that would allow 55,000 UK businesses to transfer data to the US more freely.

At present, smaller UK firms often rely on an Alternative Transfer Mechanism to transfer data to the US, which comes with extra steps such as transfer impact assessments that can be costly and time-consuming. 

UK government figures estimate that the cost savings from the data bridge could top £92 million ($115 million) per year.


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Questions remain over the precise details of the ‘data bridge’, such as what powers it would grant US security services over UK data.

The EU-US Privacy Shield, which had allowed US firms to receive EU data despite being outside the remit of the GDPR, was ruled invalid in 2020 over concerns that it could facilitate US surveillance of EU resident data.

The announcement comes after more than two years of negotiations, and once a final agreement is reached UK firms could transfer 

President Biden is expected to request the UK be designated a ‘domestic source’ under the US Defense Production Act (DPA), which could open the door to UK firms receiving US subsidies across a number of industries.

The DPA allows the President to direct the private sector to prioritize the production of materials, and supply of services, that serve the interests of US national security.

Outside of direct defense contracts, the act has been used to bolster the supply chains of printed circuit boards, domestic renewables, and hypersonic engine technology.

Working together on emerging technologies

Another key announcement from the White House press conference was that the UK and US will work more closely on the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI).

In the interest of advancing this partnership in research, development, and regulation the UK will host an international summit on AI safety later this year.

This will bring together strategic partners from across the world to evaluate the risks posed by AI, though the exact details on which countries will attend have not yet been set out.

Data processing firm Palantir has also announced it will open its new European HQ for AI development in the UK, in an expansion of its 800-strong UK workforce.

It is closely -involved with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), with the two having announced a £75 million ($94 million) digital transformation deal in December on top of a long-standing partnership with the Royal Navy.

“We are proud to extend our partnership with the United Kingdom, where we employ nearly a quarter of our global workforce,” said Alexander Karp, CEO at Palantir.

“London is a magnet for the best software engineering talent in the world, and it is the natural choice as the hub for our European efforts to develop the most effective and ethical artificial intelligence software solutions available.”

Palantir’s critics have argued against the company establishing a greater presence in the UK, citing events such as the link between one of its employees and Cambridge Analytica as reported in The Guardian.


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Its decision to hire the former head of NHSX AI was called “scandalous” in 2022, amidst a push by the company to increase its UK presence.

Some have criticized the lack of detail in the government announcement, pointing to the prevalence of government spokespeople and industry spokespeople.

“This press release for the UK AI Safety Summit features DeepMind, Anthropic, Palantir, Microsoft, and Faculty, and not a single voice from civil society or academia, and no one with lived experience of algorithmic harms,” tweeted technology strategist Rachel Coldicutt.

Other technologies identified as important to the future of UK-US relations in the declaration included 5G and 6G, semiconductors, and quantum.

The UK semiconductor supply chain is still reliant on international imports, though the government has reportedly looked at providing chip subsidies through existing mechanisms such as the National Security Strategic Investment Fund.

Across the United States, semiconductor investment has seen rapid improvement following the signing of the CHIPS Act, through which some $280 billion in subsidies for semiconductor research and manufacturing was made available.

Closer ties to the US could provide the UK with a more stable supply chain amidst the US-China chip war, though a clear strategy has not yet been published.

In all, UK trade with the US is worth some £279 billion ($350 billion) per year.

Rory Bathgate
Features and Multimedia Editor

Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at or on LinkedIn.