- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has postponed a planned trip to Washington to inaugurate trade talks with President Trump until June — some six months later than many expected the two to meet.

The prime minister’s office on Friday confirmed British press reports that the meeting of the two political allies, which has been repeatedly delayed, now will not come until Mr. Johnson travels to the U.S. to attend the G-7 summit at Camp David.

After Mr. Johnson successfully ushered Britain out of the European Union last month, there was widespread speculation that both London and Washington would move quickly to begin talks on a bilateral free-trade accord, something Brexit partisans said would be a key payoff for leaving the EU.

But relations between the Trump administration and the new Johnson government has already experienced some hiccups, including differences over issues such as climate change, Iran and the case of the wife of an American diplomat who fled back to the U.S. after being involved in a fatal road accident.

Mr. Trump was reportedly particularly unhappy with the Johnson government’s decision this month to allow the Chinese tech giant Huawei to have a limited role in the building of Britain’s new 5G national information network, despite U.S. warnings the company is a security threat due to its ties to the Chinese military and intelligence services.

The Johnson government likely also faces at least a year of tough negotiations with its former EU partners on a new trade and investment deal, meaning trade talks with Washington are likely to take a back seat.

“The prime minister looks forward to visiting the U.S. and will remain in touch with the administration on this,” a Johnson spokesman told Politico.eu, and Johnson aides denied the unexpected delay was meant as a snub to Mr. Trump. “We confirm trips as and when we can.”

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