UK PM Johnson talks of free trade deal in first call with Biden

Boris Johnson discussed the “benefits of a potential free trade deal” with the newly inaugurated US president in their first call since the inauguration.

The British prime minister “reiterated his intention to resolve existing trade issues as soon as possible,” a statement from Downing Street said, emphasising the UK’s leader interest in discussing trade with the new administration.

The White House readout of the call, however, did not mention talk of a potential free trade agreement.

Janet Yellen, who Biden has nominated to be treasury secretary, told lawmakers this week that the new president would prioritise domestic investment before signing a new free trade agreement.

President Joe Biden “conveyed his intention to strengthen the special relationship between our countries and revitalise transatlantic ties,” a White House statement said.

The UK prime minister also “welcomed the President (Biden)’s decision to re-join the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as the World Health Organization and the COVAX programme to ensure equitable access for vaccines.”

The two actions were taken on Biden’s first day in office, as part of a series of executive actions that overturned the previous administration’s policies.

The leaders also spoke of a range of topics including security, defence, COVID-19 and the NATO alliance.

Prior to this call, Biden had spoken with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

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