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UPDATE 2-British trade minister to meet top U.S. officials next week, USTR says

Sat, 1st Aug 2020 23:35

(Updates with confirmation from USTR, no comment from British
Embassy, background)

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - British Trade Minister Liz
Truss will meet top U.S. officials in Washington in coming days
to assess progress on reaching a free trade agreement between
the two countries, a spokesman for the U.S. Trade
Representative's Office said on Saturday.

Truss is scheduled to meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert
Lighthizer on Monday and Tuesday, his office said, confirming a
Financial Times report.

After leaving the European Union in January, Britain is keen
to stand alone and has started a series of trade negotiations
with other countries. A deal with the United States is seen as a
priority.

Truss has previously said there was no timetable set for
Britain's trade talks with the United States, adding that
British negotiators had made "very good progress" despite
conducting talks via video conference due to the coronavirus
outbreak.

"We're not going to rush into a deal and there is no
deadline. We will be tough in pressing our interests," Truss
told a parliamentary committee in June.

The British embassy in Washington did not respond to
requests for comment on Saturday.

The FT reported late in July that the British government had
abandoned hopes of clinching a free trade deal with the United
States ahead of the American presidential election on Nov. 3,
with officials blaming the pandemic for slow progress.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to
London last month that the United States and Britain still have
more work to do on a free trade deal.

"A third round (of negotiations) scheduled for later this
month, a primary focus for the United States is to see that we
can make progress on this and bring this to a closure just as
quickly as possible," Pompeo said.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru
Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Paul Simao)

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