Hunt: Trump enthusiastic about free trade deal with the UK

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US President Donald Trump is “enthusiastic” about agreeing a free trade deal with the UK, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt believes.

Mr Hunt has been in talks with Vice President Mike Pence and others in the US administration in Washington for two days and will now travel to New York.

The Foreign Secretary said talks included ensuring the UK-US alliance grows even stronger after Brexit.

He said: “Our discussions showed real enthusiasm from the US administration, from the President down, for a UK/US free trade agreement to be reached as soon as possible after we leave the EU, something that will benefit businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Cliff Owen/AP)

Mr Hunt also met a number of US diplomats expelled from Russia in retaliation for 60 Russian diplomats expelled from Washington as part of the coordinated response to the Salisbury attacks.

Salisbury incident
Military personnel at the site near the Maltings in Salisbury where Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found after a nerve agent attack (Ben Birchall/PA)

“The UK and US, and our joint defence of our shared values, will always be crucial to maintaining the international rules-based system that has kept us safe for decades.

“We are enormously grateful for the solidarity shown by the US as they stood with us when a chemical weapon was inexcusably used in Salisbury earlier this year.

“Today I was able personally to thank US diplomats expelled from Russia in retaliation.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hunt spoke to Axios, an American news website launched by former Politico journalists about the president’s assertion Boris Johnson would make “a great prime minister”.

Mr Hunt replied: “Well Boris is someone I would never underestimate. This is a man who has changed the course of British history through his campaigning for Brexit. I don’t agree with him on everything, but, you know, who knows for the future?”

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