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Boris Johnson admits defeat on US trade deal after Joe Biden talks

British farmers can now sell the US lamb, though.

Image: PA

BORIS JOHNSON HAS admitted to a major downgrading of his ambitions for post-Brexit ties with the US after conceding Joe Biden is not negotiating free trade pacts.

After more than 90 minutes of talks with the president in the White House, Johnson conceded he is currently looking to make only “incremental steps” to trading with the States.

Johnson welcomed news that a ban on British lamb imports in the US would be lifted, but poured cold water on hopes that a comprehensive free trade agreement, touted as one of the major prizes of Brexit, will be brokered any time soon.

Speaking to reporters outside the US Capitol building in Washington, Johnson said: “I can tell you today that what we’re going to get from the United States now is a lifting of the decades-old ban, totally unjustified, discriminating on British farmers and British lamb.

“It’s about time too. And what we’re wanting to do is make solid, incremental steps in trade.

“The Biden administration is not doing free trade deals around the world right now but I’ve got absolutely every confidence that a great deal is there to be done.

“And there are plenty of people in that building behind me who certainly want a deal.”

Downing Street said Johnson updated the president on recent developments with the Northern Ireland Protocol during their meeting in the White House yesterday.

Biden issued a fresh warning for the UK not to damage the peace process in Northern Ireland over the EU departure.

He did not counter the assertion from his predecessor Barack Obama that Britain would be at the “back of the queue” for a post-Brexit free trade agreement.

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Sitting next to Johnson in the Oval Office, Biden told reporters: “We’re going to talk a little bit about trade today and we’re going to have to work that through.”

He said he felt “very strongly” about issues surrounding the peace process, as problems with the protocol persisted.

“And I would not at all like to see – nor, I might add, would many of my Republican colleagues like to see – a change in the Irish accords, the end result having a closed border in Ireland,” he said.

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