Mnuchin: US 'focused' on reaching trade deal with UK by end of year

Mnuchin: US 'focused' on reaching trade deal with UK by end of year
© Greg Nash

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBloomberg proposes financial transaction tax GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law On The Money: Deficit spikes 25 percent through January | Mnuchin declines to say why Trump pulled Treasury nominee who oversaw Roger Stone case | Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts MORE said Saturday that the Trump administration is “focused” on clinching a trade deal with the United Kingdom by the end of 2020.

"The U.K. is our most important relationship ... it’s a very strategic relationship," Mnuchin said in an interview at a Chatham House event, adding that a trade deal with the U.K. remained “top of the list.”

Mnuchin said the U.K., which is currently in the process of breaking away from the European Union, could have to "resolve some issues" with the E.U. first but that the deal should not be impeded.

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“A lot of issues can be dealt with simultaneously,” he said. 

The U.K., which is scheduled to officially leave the E.U. at the end of the month, is currently negotiating the arrangements of its departure from the continental body. 

Trump this week said he looks forward “to negotiating a tremendous new deal with the U.K.”

“They have a wonderful new prime minister who very much wants to make a deal, as they say,” he added, referring to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, an ally who was at the helm of the Brexit movement.

Though the U.S. and U.K. have had minor disagreements on foreign policy issues in recent weeks, including on Iran and Chinese tech company Huawei, Mnuchin dismissed concerns those topics could interfere with trade negotiations.

“There are areas where we can agree 100 percent” and areas “where we have issues,” he said, maintaining that trade is an issue “where we’re both highly motivated.”