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Senior congressman says a US-UK trade deal will be struck 'as quickly as possible' after Brexit as he warns it would be a 'mistake' for Britain to stay bound to EU regulations

  • George Holding said US stands ready to get around negotiating table with UK 
  • Republican congressman said the potential of the US market is bigger than EU
  • And he warned UK not to stay in customs union or tied to EU rules after Brexit 

A senior congressman has said Britain will be able to strike a trade deal with the US 'as quickly as possible' after we quit the EU.

George Holding, a Republican and chairman of the British-American parliamentary group, said America is ready to get 'around the table' and thrash out a deal. 

But he warned if the UK stays in the customs union or highly aligned to EU rules after Brexit would be a 'mistake' and endanger the prospect of a swift deal with the US.

Mr Holding, who is married to a British woman and has a dog named after Winston Churchill, said: 'Trade agreements take a long time, but the politics are very good for it. 

'Our big financial services stakeholders in the US are big stakeholders in the UK.

'I think as soon as you exit the EU … we will be able to be at the table and have something concluded as quickly as possible as far as trade agreements go.'

George Holding, a Republican and chairman of the British-American parliamentary group said America is ready to get 'around the table' and thrash out a deal (file pic)

George Holding, a Republican and chairman of the British-American parliamentary group said America is ready to get 'around the table' and thrash out a deal (file pic)

But he warned that hopes of a swift deal with America after Brexit would be imperiled if the UK continued to stay aligned to EU rules and regulations.

What has the US said about the prospect of a post Brexit trade deal, and how has the tone changed since Trump was elected?

Donald Trump (pictured in Washington yesterday) has  dubbed himself 'Mr Brexit' and talked up the prospects of a US UK trade deal after arriving in the White House 

Donald Trump (pictured in Washington yesterday) has  dubbed himself 'Mr Brexit' and talked up the prospects of a US UK trade deal after arriving in the White House 

Barack Obama, April 22 2016

At the height of the EU referendum campaign the then US President warned the UK would be 'at the back of the queue' for a trade deal if we quit the EU.

His remarks sparked huge controversy and critics accused Mr Obama of trying to interfere in domestic British politics. 

Donald Trump, August 18 2016

The entrepreneur turned Republican Presidential candidate truck a very different tone from Barack Obama by dubbing himself 'Mr Brexit'.

His friendship with Nigel Farage encouraged Donald Trump to embrace the UK's looming departure and talk up the prospects of a trade deal.

Paul Ryan, April 19 2017

The powerful Republican speaker of the House of Representatives said the US stands ready to do a trade deal with the UK as soon as possible after Brexit.

Paul Ryan made the comment while on a trip to meet with Cabinet ministers in the UK. 

Donald Trump, 25 July 2017:

The US President promised a 'very big and exciting' trade deal with the UK after Brexit, in a post on Twitter.  

He told Politico: 'I think that would be a mistake. 

'If the United Kingdom went with an EU standard — whether it is the tech industry, financial services — and did so in a way that makes it more difficult to do something with the United States.

'I think that is a missed opportunity for the United States and the United Kingdom.' 

Mr Holding said America is 'concerned' at the push among some Remainers to keep the UK in the EU customs union – saying this could stop a trade deal being done with America.

He said: 'I think I understand it as well as anyone can. I don't get too flustered about it. I think you will do the right thing.

'[But] we watch with concern anything in the customs union, or any agreement that the U.K. would have with the EU which would preclude a closer relationship in services, or ultimately goods, with the United States.'

He added: 'You compare the EU27 market and potential and the U.S. market and potential … I think there is more potential in the United States.'

He said that Cabinet ministers including International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Chancellor Philip Hammond have been visiting America to drum up interest in a trade deal.

Mr Holding said: 'Liam Fox has been here a number of times over the past year. Boris Johnson has been here a number of times, I've been with Philip Hammond here.

'I would describe the people engaged in trade here as looking forward to [a deal], particularly in the area of financial services.'

The comments come as Mr Hammond visits Sweden and Norway today as part of a Brexit charm offensive.

He is meeting with politicians and business leaders to drum up support for the UK in the negotiations and for a future trade deal.

While over the next two weeks a string of cabinet ministers will lay out their hopes for Britain's future in a series of 'road map to Brexit' speeches.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – a leading Brexiteer – is kicking off the series with a speech tomorrow, on valentine's Day – which will spell out how he hopes the country can unite behind the potential of a post Brexit Britain.  

Chancellor Philip Hammond is visiting Sweden and Norway today as part of a Brexit charm offensive (file pic)

Chancellor Philip Hammond is visiting Sweden and Norway today as part of a Brexit charm offensive (file pic)

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Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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