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Washington wants UK trade deal 'as soon as possible'

By Arj Singh

The United States is ready to strike a free trade deal with Britain as soon as possible, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has said.

Paul Ryan, a senior member of Donald Trump's Republican party, told a central London audience last night that US lawmakers were committed to working with the US President towards striking a bilateral agreement with the UK.

His signal provides a significant boost for Theresa May as EU leaders take the first steps towards agreeing a negotiating position for Brexit talks.

In a speech for the Policy Exchange think-tank, Mr Ryan said: "Now that Article 50 has been invoked, the UK and the EU will determine the best path forward over the course of these negotiations.

"We want the parties to come together and strike a lasting agreement - a strong UK-EU relationship is in all of our best interests.

"The US will work closely with our EU friends and chart a path forward on TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations.

"At the same time we are totally committed to working with President Trump and your government to achieve a bilateral trade agreement between the US and Britain. The US stands ready to forge a new trade agreement with Great Britain as soon as possible so that we may further tap into the great potential."

Mr Ryan's comments come as the Prime Minister prepares to hold talks tomorrow with Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament.

The discussions will ultimately have to approve any post-Brexit deal between the UK and EU.

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