Boris Johnson speaks to Joe Biden from London, Britain, on Saturday. Downing Street handout/Reuters
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made clear to President Joe Biden on Saturday that he's eager to forge a new US-UK trade deal.
Johnson and Biden vowed to deepen ties and cooperate on tackling climate change in their first conversation since the US president's inauguration, the British prime minister's office said.
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Prime Minister Johnson said he looked forward to working with US President on their shared goals, including tackling climate change, according to AFP.
Johnson congratulated Biden on his inauguration and "the two leaders looked forward to deepening the close alliance between our nations", said the statement from Downing Street.
A new trade agreement between the allies is a higher priority for Johnson than it is for Biden. The UK regained control over its national trade policy at the start of the month following the end of a post-Brexit transition period.
British newspapers reported that Johnson was the first European leader to receive a call from Biden, who earlier spoke to Canadian and Mexican counterparts.
US President Joe Biden speaks during an event. File photo
The right-wing Sunday Telegraph reported that Johnson was the first leader outside North America to speak to Biden "after his scheduled call was brought forward two days in what will be seen as a major boost for the special relationship between the UK and US."
Biden on Friday spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his first call to a foreign leader.
The White House in a readout of the call said that Biden "conveyed his intention to strengthen the special relationship between our countries and also "noted the importance of cooperation, including through multilateral organizations, on shared challenges".
Johnson tweeted a picture of himself in shirt-sleeves laughing as he spoke on the phone. "Great to speak to President @JoeBiden this evening," he wrote.
The conversation appeared aimed at warming frosty relations after Biden in 2019 described Johnson as a "physical and emotional clone" of Donald Trump, his predecessor as US president.
Biden has also been critical of Johnson's Brexit policy, but the Downing Street statement said the leaders "discussed the benefits of a potential free trade deal between our two countries".
Johnson said he intended to resolve current trade issues "as soon as possible".
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