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30Sep

US trade envoy calls for 'optimism' in UK/EU trade talks

Mr Mick Mulvaney, the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, has called for optimism on both sides over the push for a trade deal between the EU and United Kingdom. The US politician is currently on a trip to the UK and Ireland for a week, starting in Northern Ireland, followed by the Republic of Ireland and then London. The Republican politician was appointed to the post of special envoy in April of this year by President Donald Trump. Mr Mulvaney made the comments urging optimism shortly after meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mr Brandon Lewis at Hillsborough Castle. "Generally speaking, politicians and politics do tend to put things off to the last minute but at end of the day usually they are able to get things that work for everybody", he told media reporters.

Talks between the EU and United Kingdom are continuing this week with a face-to-face meeting expected between chief negotiators Sir David Frost and Michel Barnier this Friday. Time is running out for both sides as mid-October appears to be the deadline when a text must begin its journey through the European Union for ratification by the EU Council. Negotiations began this week on a more positive note, with the EU signalling a preparedness to put aside previous demands of having key sticking points worked through before starting on a joint text draft of a trade deal. This will hopefully lead to increased confidence on both sides as negotiations press on.

Regarding the Internal Market Bill, Mulvaney called the legislation a 'fail safe', a measure that 'only comes into play if something else doesn't happen'. Mr Mulvaney also provided insight into the US administration’s view of the dynamic between the EU and Northern Ireland, saying that the US Government would continue to view Northern Ireland through 'the prism of the Good Friday Agreement'.    

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