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Boris Johnson said there would be “all kinds of opportunities” from a US-UK trade deal as he played down suggestions that the Trump regime will be in no hurry to cut an agreement after Brexit.
The foreign secretary quoted Paul Ryan, the Speaker in the House of Representatives, as saying that Britain would be “first in the queue” for a trade deal with Washington after it leaves the European Union.
But recent reports have suggested that President Trump sees a trade deal with the EU as his main priority ahead of a UK-US trade arrangement.
No US-UK trade deal will be possible until long after Britain has left the EU in March 2019 – and talks could take several years.
Potential sticking points could centre on financial services regulation, business opportunities for US companies in the NHS, and access to the British food and animal feed market for US farmers.
But Mr Johnson joked that getting a deal would end the current “deprivation” whereby the sale of Scottish haggis was banned in America.
The foreign secretary admitted that Brexit negotiations would be difficult, saying: “These will be tough negotiations, particularly over money.”
Yet he insisted that Theresa May was the right person to lead Britain through the complicated negotiations with the EU, the European Commission and 27 other countries, which he described as a “momentous arm wrestle”.
“There’s absolutely no way we’re going to get a strong negotiating stance with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party,” he told the BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
Significantly Mr Johnson also said that if the US was to take action once again against Syria’s Assad regime over its use of chemical weapons the UK could join in – even without Parliamentary approval.
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