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US wants trade deal with UK finalised 'as soon as possible,' says Mike Pompeo
21 July 2020, 18:04
The USA wants to finalise a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK "as soon as possible," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.
Mr Pompeo is currently visiting Britain and has so far met with both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
The former US army officer, addressing the press during a briefing at Lancaster House in central London, said there was "more work to do" before the completion of a trade deal, following almost two months of negotiations.
However, Mr Pompeo confirmed that he had told Mr Johnson during a Downing Street summit how Washington was hoping to finalise a deal "before too long."
His comments came following a joint press conference with Mr Raab, that began shortly after 3pm on Tuesday.
Last month, it was reported that trade talks with the US, which started in May, were unlikely to be finalised before November's presidential elections when President Donald Trump is seeking re-election against Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Mr Pompeo told reporters at Lancaster House: "We've completed two rounds, we've got more work to do, with a third round scheduled for later this month.
"It is the primary focus of the United States to see if we can make progress on this and bring it to a close just as soon as possible.
"I spoke to the Prime Minister this morning about this and I hope we can get it finalised before too long."
The two foreign affairs chiefs were due to meet with the British-American Business Council following their bi-lateral discussions.
Mr Pompeo said the meeting with business figures would help the two countries get to the "right place, which is reducing trade barriers" while also providing jobs and wealth on both sides of the Atlantic.
In his opening speech, Mr Raab said: "We are each other's biggest investors.
"Our annual trade relationship is worth over 300 billion US dollars, we think we can do even better than that.
"Every morning there are just under 1.5 million Americans who go to work for a British company, it is around the same amount of Brits going to work for American companies.
"I think that reiterates the kind of win-win free trade deal we are determined to achieve between our countries, good for jobs and good for consumers as well."
Last week, the foreign secretary claimed "Russian actors" had tried to influence the 2019 UK General Election, saying they "amplified" stole Government documents from US-UK trade talks by posting them online.
The papers were picked up by then-Labour-leader Jeremy Corbyn who claimed they proved the Conservatives were willing to open up the NHS to US pharmaceutical companies.
Also under discussion during the meeting was Iran, the coronavirus crisis, Nato and the Middle East peace process.
During the 12-minute appearance in front of the media, Mr Pompeo welcomed the action taken by the UK on extending the United Nations arms embargo on Iran.
He said: "I welcome the recent statement from the United Kingdom, France and Germany recognising that allowing the embargo to expire would have major implications for regional and security stability."
Mr Pompeo also heralded the "special relationship" between the US and UK and called Britain a "true ally."
He continued: "The special relationship, you can see it on days like today where it translates into having candid, frank discussions on important matters which really cut to the heart of how we can work together, to secure freedom for our peoples in each of our two countries and both of our countries to be forces for good together around the world."