By Kate McCann, political correspondent
America is “ready to negotiate” a sector by sector trade deal with the UK in order to get an agreement as soon as Britain has left the European Union, US national security adviser John Bolton has said.Speaking after a meeting with Boris Johnson, Mr Bolton said the UK will be “first in line” for a trade deal and said the prime minister and Donald Trump have got their relationship off to a “roaring start”, speaking five or six times by phone already.
Mr Johnson and Mr Trump had a phone call on Monday during which the PM updated the president on Brexit and the pair discussed global security issues.Mr Bolton said smaller trade deals could be agreed between the UK and the US in areas like manufacturing and car-making while other agreements like financial services may take longer. If the UK is also prepared to move quickly some of the deals could be done within a year, Mr Bolton said.He told reporters that America would “enthusiastically” support a no-deal Brexit if that is what the British government decides is best, although he explained Mr Johnson made clear the UK is seeking an agreement with Europe.
Mr Bolton is in London for meetings with senior government ministers to discuss trade, security and the economy.He said: “In the Trump administration, Britain’s constantly at the front of the trade queue, or line as we say.”
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Mr Bolton added: “We want to move very quickly. We wish we could have moved further along in this with the prior government.”We were ready to negotiate. We are ready to negotiate now.”
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He also said negotiating a trade deal in smaller parts was possible and was something the US has done before with other countries.The US adviser said: “You could do it sector by sector, you could do it in a modular fashion in other words.”You could carve out some areas where it might be possible to reach a bilateral agreement very quickly, very straight forwardly.”That would then lock that in and when the other areas that might be more difficult were concluded later, you could combine it in one overall agreement.”So the objective is either one document or a series of agreements that would be comprehensive.”In order to expedite things and enhance the possibility for increasing the trade and investments between the two countries, doing it in a sector-by-sector approach or some other approach that the trade negotiators might agree with, we are open to that.”He added that the vote for Brexit was clear and decisive and appeared to rule out a second referendum.”The fashion in the European Union when the people vote the wrong way from the way that the elites want to go, is to make the peasants vote again and again until they get it right,” he said, adding it is “hard to imagine” people in the UK did not know “what was at stake” when they voted to leave the EU in 2016.Mr Bolton also made clear that Brexit presents an opportunity for the UK and the US to work closely together on things like security, adding that he was pleased that Mr Johnson has signed up to work with America on Operation Sentinel, designed to defuse the situation with Iran.And the UK’s decision to leave would strengthen NATO, he added.
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