China blamed for UK-US trade deal delay as John Bolton says ‘urgent threat’ blocking talks

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International trade secretary Liz Truss recently said the UK needed to secure a US trade deal by mid-2021. This is due to the US government’s Trade Promotion Authority expiring next July, which allows trade deals to be passed through Congress without being amended. The negotiations have not been plain sailing as the US wants to export more agricultural goods to Britain, but Ms Truss has rejected this as it would require the UK to accept America’s food standards. The NHS has also been a contentious point in trade talks, with the US reportedly seeking to increase access for the country’s pharmaceutical giants, against the wishes of Ms Truss.

However, Donald Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton cited the USs’ “disputes” with China as one of the reasons there is no deal between the US and UK yet.

He told Express.co.uk: “It is disappointing to me that neither London or Washington really was able to put this deal together already.

“It may be that the bulk of the problem lies with America because the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer has been so busy with China and other disputes.

“But it sounds like progress is being made, I think it is clearly in the interest of both countries to get a deal as soon as possible.

“I think if Trump wins, then it will happen fairly quickly, if Biden wins it is not certain, as there’s still the memory of Obama saying before the Brexit referendum that if the UK voted to leave the EU, it would go to the back of the queue.

“It is not hypothetical, Britain is going to leave the EU, though a Biden administration would have to look to what America’s best interests would be and it would be getting a satisfactory deal with the UK as soon as possible.”

Mr Bolton added China has been a huge concern for the US for many years and is likely to remain so after the election.

He told Express.co.uk: “China and Russia have been strategic adversaries of the US for a long time.

“Certainly for the rest of the century I think China is the existential concern for the US.

“Nuclear proliferation, as represented by Iran and North Korea, are more urgent threats, but they all are but at different levels of concern.”

Mr Trump appeared to be building bridges withe China in the year after he became President.

He invited Chinese leader Xi Jinping to his Mar-a-Lago private club in Florida in April 2017.

The pair were pictured sitting on a golden couch together and smiling.

After their meeting, Mr Trump tweeted: “It was a great honour to have President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan of China as our guests. Tremendous goodwill and friendship was formed.”

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However, this seems to be a very distant memory as tensions have soared over the last few years.

The US and China have fiercely battled for control over the South China Sea over the years.

China’s motives are self-defence and to protect its waters, while the US wants to maintain the “international order” over fears the country is at threat of “a geopolitical competition between free and repressive visions of world order” in the Indo-Pacific region.

Most recently, Mr Trump has also continually torn into China over the coronavirus pandemic, which has heaped devastation on the US.

Mr Trump has repeatedly called the outbreak the “China virus” and even accused Beijing of playing down the severity of the virus.

On August 11, he said he used to like Xi, but he didn’t “feel the same way now”.

He told Fox Sports Radio: “I had a very, very good relationship, and I haven’t spoken to him in a long time.”

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