WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) - Britain wants to ensure commercial ties with the United States are not disrupted as it moves out of the European Union, UK trade secretary, Liam Fox, said on Monday before the start of meetings with Trump administration officials in Washington.
Fox and his U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, were to chair the first meeting of a U.S.-UK trade and investment working group later on Monday to discuss cooperation and a bilateral trade agreement after Brexit.
Britain is not free to enter into new trade deals until it has left the EU in 2019. It has indicated, however, that it wants to get legal documents in place to ensure that such things as flights and data flows between the countries are not interrupted.
Fox, Britain's international trade secretary, said Britain wants to "provide stability, certainty and confidence for business on both sides of the Atlantic."
On Tuesday, as part of Britain's Brexit transition campaign, Fox is due to address U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill and launch a report detailing British trade and investment with 435 congressional districts in the United States.
He said the United States was Britain's export market for more than $200 billion of goods and services a year, while the United States is the No. 1 destination for UK investment.
"We have begun to look at our continuity agreements to maintain as open and flexible relationship as we can," he told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute think tank.
"We're looking at bilateral ways, while we're still members of the European Union, to achieve trade liberalization on a number of fronts on science and technology, and we are looking to scope out the future free trade agreement with no preconceptions attached to that," he added.
Fox defended Britain's decision to leave the bloc and said those still hoping to change the 2015 British referendum result, which supported Brexit, "are dreaming."
U.S. President Donald Trump has said his administration would work hard to get a quick bilateral trade deal done.
Trade was a major issue during the Brexit campaign when former U.S. President Barack Obama said Britain would have to go "to the back of the queue" for a deal if it voted to leave the EU. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Tom Brown)