Early talks kick off over potential UK-US free trade agreement

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The UK has initiated early talks with the US over a potential post-Brexit free trade deal.

The UK is set to conduct early talks with the US to lay the foundations for a new free trade agreement (FTA) that would take effect after it leaves the European Union.

British international trade secretary Liam Fox has travelled to Washington DC for a two-day visit that will see him meet US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, as well as the US Chamber of Commerce, trade policy organizations and business representatives.

This comes as separate talks kick off in Brussels this week over the terms of the UK's EU exit. Britain will be unable to complete any new FTAs until after Brexit, but hopes to do so with key partners such as the US as soon as possible.

US president Donald Trump has expressed a keenness to complete such a deal quickly. Trade between the two countries is valued at more than £150 billion (€171.21 billion) a year, with the US ranking as the UK's single largest source of inward investment.

Mr Fox said the trip will "help lay the groundwork for a potential future UK-US free trade agreement and the practical steps we can take now in order to enable companies in both countries to trade and do business with one another more easily".