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Trade deal with the UK is our primary focus, says US secretary of state Mike Pompeo

Close to a deal: But Mr Pompeo and the PM kept their distance in the gardens of No.10 yesterday PICTURE: AFP/GETTY

THE US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said he hopes to strike a deal with the UK that reduces trade barriers ‘before too long’.

Speaking after meeting both Boris Johnson and foreign secretary Dominic Raab yesterday, Mr Pompeo appeared hopeful of getting an agreement over the line after almost two months of negotiations.

He told reporters at Lancaster House in central London: ‘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.’

Mr Raab also appeared in good spirits as he told the press briefing he and Mr Pompeo both ‘think we can do even better’ than the present $300billion-plus trade deal.

He said: ‘Every morning there are just under 1.5million 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.’

Meanwhile, Mr Pompeo welcomed the UK’s ‘principled’ response to China’s ‘bullying’ of Hong Kong. Measures include banning telecoms giant Huawei and allowing British National (Overseas) passport holders to come to the UK.