World 11-12-2018

Pompeo: US could sign free trade agreement with RU even with hard Brexit

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today that his country could consider the early signing of a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom even if the country leaves the European Union ( EU) without an agreement.

In a teleconference interview with the Hugh Hewitt Show, Pompeo was asked if the United States could quickly achieve a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom with a hard Brexit.

The head of US diplomacy answered affirmatively and said that "if there is a hard Brexit, I still have a lot of confidence that the United States and the United Kingdom will continue to have a special relationship."

"It certainly matters to them, but we also care a lot," he said, adding that "there is a long history of our two countries working incredibly closely on all fronts of our relationship, with trade certainly included in they".

Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier that the crucial parliamentary vote on her agreement for Brexit, originally planned for Tuesday, would be postponed, after acknowledging that "the agreement would be rejected by a significant margin."

May said the "backstop" of Northern Ireland remains "a deep concern" for parliamentarians in relation to the much-criticized London-Brussels agreement after months of painful negotiations.

Also today, the European Court of Justice said that the United Kingdom "is free to unilaterally revoke the notification about its intention to withdraw from the European Union."

The ruling will give impetus to those who are campaigning for a second referendum and want to stop Brexit.

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