WASHINGTON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear to President Joe Biden on Saturday that he was ready to conclude a new trade deal between the United States and the United Kingdom.
The impetus for a new deal came in a widespread call between the two leaders, which affected the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Biden administration, which announced this week that the United States would join the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization. says in a statement on Downing Street.
A new trade agreement between the allies is a higher priority for Johnson than for Biden. Britain regained control of its national trade policy earlier this month after the end of the post-Brexit transition.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday that the administration has no deadlines for concluding a new trade deal, as Biden̵
Janet Yellen, Biden’s finance minister’s nominee, also signaled during a confirmation hearing earlier this week that Biden was reluctant to negotiate new trade deals.
“President Biden was adamant that he would not sign any new free trade agreements until the United States made major investments in American workers and our infrastructure,” Yellen said.
Downing Street said Saturday that Biden and Johnson had discussed “the benefits of a potential free trade deal between our two countries”, and Johnson “reaffirmed his intention to resolve existing trade issues as soon as possible”.
The White House said in a statement that the two leaders spoke about combating climate change, containing COVID-19, and ensuring global health security, as well as shared foreign policy priorities in China, Iran and Russia. But the statement does not specifically mention a discussion of trade.
Johnson’s call was at least Biden’s third call to a foreign colleague on Friday. The president spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday night.