The UK will sign a trade pact with Washington state aimed at facilitating aerospace deals with the US, as it seeks to bolster its economic ties in the absence of broader free-trade discussions with President Joe Biden.

The memorandum of understanding, the sixth such pact with a US state, is focused on forging closer ties between the two countries’ aviation sectors. Washington state is the birthplace of US aerospace giant Boeing Co.

The framework will enable UK and US businesses to work together more seamlessly, Nusrat Ghani, the UK minister for industry, told Bloomberg News in an interview. Ghani touted the collective impact of the mini trade pacts. 

“The combined GDP of the six states will be over £2 trillion, the equivalent of the GDP in France,” she said.

Ghani will sign the agreement alongside Washington state Governor Jay Inslee at an event in Seattle late Monday in the US. 

The UK has sought closer commercial ties with individual states with a broader US free-trade deal, touted as a benefit of leaving the European Union, still far off. The country has signed agreements with Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah, and hopes to sign agreements with Florida, Texas and California. 

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government faces pressure to expand trade and investment links in response to the US Inflation Reduction Act, a multibillion package of clean-energy subsidies and tax breaks.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Sunak has promised to unveil an advanced manufacturing plan in the coming months, but his blueprint is expected to focus on reducing regulations and boosting supply chains rather than produce a hefty set of subsidies.

“We’re never going to have as deep pockets as the Americans when it comes to IRA,” Ghani said. “We don’t want to be involved in a subsidy race either.”