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Reports: Top US official floats sector-by-sector trade deals with UK

The U.S. and U.K. could first pursue piecemeal, sector-specific trade deals before striking a wider bilateral agreement to help Britain cushion the impact of a potential no-deal Brexit, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Aug. 12, according to The Guardian and the BBC.

Bolton, who met with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and senior British officials, said the sector-by-sector deals could focus on and prioritize industries such as manufacturing and automotive, and precede a comprehensive trade agreement covering all goods and services.

"In other words, you can carve out some areas where it might be possible to reach a bilateral agreement very quickly, very straightforwardly," Bolton was quoted as saying by the Guardian. He said such deals would gain overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.

Bolton said a trade deal covering financial services may be more difficult to attain, suggesting that it may not be the first to be completed, along with a deal on agriculture.

The U.K. is due to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, and Johnson has stood firm on meeting that deadline with or without a withdrawal agreement with Brussels.

The U.S. would support the U.K. "enthusiastically" in case it opts for a no-deal Brexit, putting the country "first in line" for a trade deal, according to Bolton.