America ‘wants trade deal with UK as soon as possible’

The prospects of the US striking a free trade deal with the UK after the latter leaves the European Union have been boosted by a senior Republican politician in a speech in London.

Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, said at a conference organised by the Policy Exchange think-tank, that the US was ready to reach a deal with Britain as soon as possible after Brexit. He also said the Trump administration wanted to breathe new life into the stalled negotiations on the proposed free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), between America and the EU.“Now that Article 50 has been invoked, the UK and the EU will determine the best path forward over the course of these negotiations,” said Mr Ryan. “We want the parties to come together and strike a lasting agreement, a strong UK–EU relationship is in all of our best interests.“In that same vein, the United States will work closely with our EU friends and chart a path forward on TTIP negotiations. At the same time, we are committed to working with President Trump and your government to achieve a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Britain.“This is one of the bipartisan messages I bring with me: I bring Democrats and Republicans here to this room to this country today, to say that the United States stands ready to forge a new trade agreement with Great Britain as soon as possible so that we may further tap into the great potential between our two people.”

“Special ally”

Answering questions from an audience that included International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Mr Ryan expressed confidence that the UK and EU could agree an appropriate exit deal. “I assume you will get an agreement – I can’t imagine you won’t – and I just want you to know that as your special ally, as your greatest partner, we’re going to stand with you through all of this.“We think it’s in everyone’s interests to have a strong relationship between Britain and the EU, we want to, as soon as the UK is ready and able, to do a trade agreement, a bilateral trade agreement. I think what we’re going through if we handle this correctly will be to bring more prosperity and security to our respective countries.”Mr Ryan’s comments came as Prime Minister Theresa May held talks in Downing Street with Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, over MEPs’ demands over Brexit negotiations, including calls for the UK to meet its financial obligations to the EU in full and to delay talks on trade until after a divorce settlement is reached.
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UK and EU expat rights

The MEPs will have to vote to approve the Brexit deal and, leaving the 45-minute discussion, Mr Tajani said he and Mrs May had agreed on the need for a swift resolution on the issue of UK and EU expats’ rights.“The message is a positive message. We want to strengthen the citizens’ rights – European citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the European Union,” he said. “This is the most important message – we want to work together.“Mrs May underlined this position. It is our position. Here we were both in favour of our citizens. It is a good start, a good beginning; now we need to go for implementation.”A spokesman for Mrs May said, “The PM and the president agreed the UK and EU should continue to have a close relationship after Brexit and on the importance of giving early certainty about the status of British citizens living elsewhere in the EU and citizens of other member states in the UK.”For related news and features, visit our Enterprise section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit

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