Liz Truss has admitted that the UK will not strike a post-Brexit free trade deal with the US for a number of years, as she flew to New York ahead of a meeting with Joe Biden.
Ms Truss told reporters “there aren’t any negotiations taking place with the US” as she made her first foreign trip as Prime Minister.
She instead stressed her trade priority is striking agreements with India and the Gulf states, and joining a trade pact with nations including Australia and Japan.
“There aren’t currently any negotiations taking place with the US and I don’t have an expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term,” she said.
Officials did not deny that Ms Truss, a former Brexit opponent who has switched to becoming a supporter, was effectively conceding it will be years before talks with the White House resume.
She said the deals with Delhi and other allies are the UK’s “trade priorities”.
Ms Truss said her priorities were to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade agreement bringing together Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and six other countries.
She also said she wanted to reach an agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council of Arab states.
She made the comments as she touched down in New York for her first overseas visit since she took over from Boris Johnson in Downing Street.
She will make her debut speech to the UN as British leader on Wednesday, just two days after President Biden and hundreds of other world leaders travelled to the UK for the historic funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Mr Biden has stalled on trade negotiations and, vocally proud of his Irish heritage, has raised concerns about the impact of Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol on the peace process.
Ms Truss’ comments on the US trade deal will be seen as a huge disappointment for many Brexit supporters, who believed leaving the European Union would open the door to a series of lucrative global trade deals. (LBC)