Agreement unlikely in U.K. and U.S. trade talks until after 2020 due to coronavirus

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There is no chance of a trade deal between the U.K. and the U.S. being completed in 2020, officials reportedly said on Tuesday.

The U.K. and the U.S. have been negotiating a free trade deal since the U.K. left the European Union.

The U.K. had hoped for a deal in time for 2021, when its transition period with the EU, under which it trades on the same terms as when it was a member, ends.

Meanwhile, a quick deal for the U.S. would have boosted President Donald Trump heading into the November Presidential election.

But on Tuesday senior government officials reportedly said coronavirus had slowed negotiations and that it was unlikely enough progress would be made before the November presidential election to complete a deal.

Read:Pound slips and stocks slump as no-deal Brexit fears resurface

This came a month after a congressional hearing in which U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said a deal being completed before the election was “unlikely.”

“That would be very, very, very quick time,” he said.

Read:British grocers reject U.S. chlorine-washed chicken as row over welfare standards deepen

Trade talks have stalled over concerns about import standards, as the U.S. wants farmers to have access to the U.K. markets, the U.K. has said it would not lower its agricultural regulatory standards, which ban the import of products such as hormone-injected beef and chlorine-washed chicken.

On Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and foreign secretary Dominic Raab and discussed the trade deal.

“We’ve completed two rounds [of free trade discussions], more work to do,” Pompeo said at a press conference following the meeting.

Read:Secretary of State Pompeo and U.K. Prime Minister Johnson talk tackling China’s might after U.K. Huawei ban

“It is a primary focus of the United States to see if we can make progress on this and bring this to a close just as quickly as possible,” he said.

The department for international trade didn’t return requests for comment.