11:13 GMT26 October 2020
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    Washington has warned London that the UK would not get a free trade deal unless a new tax affecting US tech giants is dropped, The Telegraph reported Friday.

    In particular, the Trump administration has demanded that the digital services tax, affecting Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter, is ditched before it becomes law in this fall, according to the Telegraph.

    The warning was communicated to the UK Government “at multiple levels” and has emerged as one of the most significant hurdles to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hopes of a speedy agreement, the UK-based media outlet said.

    The White House Press Secretary said earlier this week that US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to immediately boost bilateral economic ties right after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

    Trump told reporters earlier that he had recently spoken with newly-appointed British prime minister and the two leaders were working on a trade agreement.

    Johnson is reportedly aiming to strike a trade deal with the US by the Brexit deadline and has set it as a core priority. With a view to negotiating a deal, Johnson is likely to travel to the United States at the time of the UN General Assembly session in September, according to the UK-based media reports.

    By the October 31 deadline, Johnson is reportedly expected to secure a limited trade deal in "one area" of goods with the United States and outline a framework for a formal agreement with Trump.

    Johnson, an avid Brexiteer and former foreign secretary, took over as prime minister last week after winning the Conservative party’s leadership vote.

    In his first speech as prime minister, Johnson said the United Kingdom would leave the European Union by the Oct. 31 deadline. Johnson also said London would work to secure a new and better exit deal with Brussels, but preparations for a potential no-deal Brexit would be necessary if the European Union refuses to negotiate further.


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