WASHINGTON — The United States will be on Britains “doorstep, pen in hand” to sign a trade deal as soon as possible after the U.K. leaves the European Union, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.
The chief U.S. diplomat made the comment alongside Britains new foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, who was in Washington as part of a North American trip aimed at strengthening ties with non-European countries ahead of Brexit.
The pair appeared buoyant about the U.S.-British relationship, despite the strains caused by differences over how to deal with Iran, climate change and other issues.
U.K. officials hope new British Prime Minister Boris Johnsons relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump will eventually lead to a bilateral trade deal.
Pompeo seemed to give those hopes a boost, although hes not a major player in the Trump administration when it comes to striking trade deals.
“We support the United Kingdoms sovereign choice, however Brexit ultimately shakes out, and well be on the doorstep, pen in hand, ready to sign a new free-trade agreement at the earliest possible time,” he said.
Raab said the U.K. is “absolutely resolved” to be out of the EU by the end of October. Once Britain is out, it expects to be free to strike bilateral trade deals with other countries. Raab also reiterated the new U.K. governments insistence that Brussels must be willing to reopen the Brexit deal struck with Theresa May.
“If the EUs position is that there can be no change to the Withdrawal Agreement, then that will be a choice that theyve made,” Raab said.