UK abandons hope of U.S. trade deal by end of year: FT

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Secretary of State of International Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss leaves Downing Street, in London, Britain, July 14, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government has abandoned hopes of clinching a U.S. free trade deal ahead of the presidential election, with officials blaming the novel coronavirus outbreak for slow progress, the Financial Times reported.

“Is it going to happen this year? Basically, no,” said one official quoted by the FT. Another was quoted as saying: “We don’t want to be bounced into a deal.”

Trade minister Liz Truss said last month that Britain had no deadline to strike a trade deal with the United States and she criticised the U.S. administration for talking “a good game” on free trade while restricting import access.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by William Schomberg