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Vice President Pence and Foreign Secretary Raab Vice President Pence and Foreign Secretary Raab. Photo, US Government (Twitter @VP)

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Vice President to visit UK in September

VP Mike Pence will travel to Britain September 4 and 5, with strengthening Transatlantic economic ties on the agenda

Published on August 15, 2019

The White House has confirmed that US Vice President Mike Pence will visit the UK on September 4 and 5 as part of ongoing discussions relating to strengthening US/UK economic ties after Brexit. The announcement follows a recent Washington visit from the UK's new Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, and the new Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss. Ms Truss also recently met with US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson.

A common thread through recent meetings between UK and US officials has been the prospect of a free trade agreement and closer ties between Britain and America. During a press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 7, Foreign Secretary Raab commented that "America’s our single largest bilateral trading partner. President Trump has made clear, again, that he wants an ambitious free trade agreement with the UK. So I hope we can make that happen as soon as possible after we leave the EU on the 31st of October." Secretary Pompeo also said at the conference, "We support the United Kingdom’s sovereign choice, however Brexit ultimately shakes out. And we’ll be on the doorstep – pen in hand – ready to sign a new free trade agreement at the earliest possible time."

Speaking after meetings with Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative in charge of trade negotiations, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and other senior officials and figures from Congress, UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss echoed the optimistic Special Relationship dialogue. She explainined that "Negotiating and signing an exciting new free trade agreement with the US is one of my top priorities. Having already laid the groundwork, we are working at pace to make sure our businesses are able to take advantage of the golden opportunity to increase trade with the US as soon as possible."

Most recently, National Security Advisor John Bolton met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid and Liz Truss this week. Reflecting on the meetings, Bolton Tweeted that "I had a great meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday. We discussed trade, security, and opportunities to deepen our bilateral relationship after the UK leaves the EU. The US and UK are on course for an unprecedented partnership."

Questions still linger about what may or may not happen with Brexit, but with VP Pence's upcoming visit capping off a year of extraordinary communication between the UK and the US, there seems to be a lot more to come from US/UK trade talks and the strengthening of the Special Relationship.

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