Jan. 24 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on the phone with new U.S. President Joseph Biden on Jan. 23, becoming the first European leader to speak with him since Biden’s inauguration.
The British Prime Minister’s Office and the U.S. White House issued separate statements, saying the two discussed a range of matters, including the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, the United States to stop withdrawing from the World Health Organization and the two sides to continue to deepen relations.
One of the most talked about focuses of the relationship is whether the U.S. and Britain can reach a free trade agreement after the U.K. leaves the European Union.
The Associated Press and other media reported that Johnson seems to be “more anxious” than Biden to reach a free trade agreement, which is evident from the statements of both sides.
A statement from the British Prime Minister’s Office said Johnson and Biden discussed “the benefits of a possible FTA between our two countries” and that Johnson “reiterated his intention to resolve the current trade issues (between the UK and the US) as soon as possible”.
The White House statement did not mention that the two discussed trade issues, saying only that they discussed combating climate change, fighting the Coronavirus pandemic and ensuring global health security.
The U.K. originally enjoyed a free trade arrangement with the U.S. as a member of the European Union, but will need to negotiate free trade agreements with other economies after Brexit.
Many media reports, and the United States to reach a free trade agreement has become the Johnson government’s work task “important priorities.
In contrast to the British side “anxious”, the White House press secretary Jane Psaki said on 22, the U.S. side is not currently set a timetable for the signing of new FTAs, because the U.S. side is currently focused on controlling the domestic Coronavirus pandemic and in Congress to promote the passage of a new economic rescue plan.
Janet Yellen, Biden’s nominee for Treasury secretary and former chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, told a congressional hearing earlier this week that Biden has made it clear that “no new FTAs will be signed until the United States makes significant investments in jobs and infrastructure.”
According to the White House statement, the call with Johnson followed Biden’s phone calls with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Ovrador since taking office.