Trump's negotiator: UK-US trade deal before 2020 election 'impossible'

Donald Trump’s top trade negotiator says inking a deal with the UK before the 2020 presidential election is ‘almost impossible’

  • The UK and US are involved in deep negotiations about a post-Brexit trade deal 
  • But a deal is unlikely to be reached before November’s US presidential election
  • Donald Trump’s top negotiator says a deal before then is ‘almost impossible’

Donald Trump’s top trade negotiator has said it is ‘almost impossible’ that a UK-US deal will be finalised before the American presidential election in November.

Robert Lighthizer, who is leading the trade negotiations with Britain, told a US Congress committee: ‘That would be very, very, very quick time. I think it’s unlikely that happens.’ 

He added: ‘It is almost impossible unless the members [of Congress] decided they want to do something extraordinary.’

US President Donald Trump (pictured)’s top trade negotiators admitted a trade deal between Britain and America will not come before November’s US election 

Robert Lighthizer (pictured) said it would take something ‘extraordinary’ for the UK and US to come to an agreement before the US public take to the polls in the autumn

Any deal must be approved by Congress. Failure to deliver an agreement before the election in less than five months’ time means that Mr Trump could be voted out of office before it is finalised.

It could throw into question UK hopes of using a US deal as a bargaining chip to pressure the EU into agreeing post-Brexit terms. 

The position of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden on a prospective deal is not known.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss yesterday confirmed that the UK will apply to join the world’s third-largest free trade bloc CPTPP, whose members include Japan, Australia, Mexico and Canada.

Mr Trump has been a champion of Brexit and has repeatedly given his public support for securing a trade deal with Boris Johnson.

Negotiations on a deal, which have been delayed first by the date of Brexit being repeatedly pushed back and more recently by the coronavirus crisis, have entered their second round of talks.

Becoming a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will require 11 different market access agreements with the separate member nations

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