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Pompeo travels to the UK on official state visit


Pompeo travels to the UK on official state visit

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Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Pool via REUTERS

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to London today to discuss a range of bilateral issues with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and PM Boris Johnson. At the top of the agenda are issues relating to China’s new security law in Hong Kong and a US-UK free-trade agreement.

On July 14, the UK announced its full blacklisting of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from the provision of services to Britain’s 5G telecommunications network by 2027. Pompeo is certain to welcome this decision in the context of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy on China; US President Donald Trump even took credit for the outcome.

The decision boosts the prospects for a US-UK free trade deal as it has removed a potentially major hurdle in negotiations. A deal would be a major diplomatic victory for Johnson’s Brexit policies, which constitute the raison d’être of his administration. When talks resume, agriculture will likely emerge as the next contentious barrier to overcome, as increased agricultural market access is a key expectation for Washington. However, British farmers oppose greater market access for certain US farm products, such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef, that are allegedly detrimental to UK food safety standards.

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