US President Donald Trump has said he expects to reach a “very powerful” trade deal with Britain after it leaves the EU, marking a significant scoop for under-fire Prime Minister Theresa May to steer Brexit through a less rocky path.
Mr. Trump held a bilteral meeting with Mrs. May, aimed at boosting the UK’s trade position after it divorces from the European Union, a deal Mr. Trump hoped would be concluded “very, very quickly”.
Mr. Trump also hailed the “very special relationship” he had developed with May as the pair met for talks on the margins of the G20 as he emphasised the trade deal would be great for both countries.
However, it wasn’t clear that he was referring to a full free trade agreement as he said trade would be a big factor. The US president also said he had a “tremendous” meeting with Russia’s president Putin.
“There is no country that could possibly be closer than our countries,” Mr. Trump said. “We have been working on a trade deal which will be a very, very big deal a very powerful deal, great for both countries and I think we will have that done very, very quickly.”
Mr. Trump added: “Prime Minister May and I have developed a very special relationship and I think trade will be a very big factor between our two countries.”
The US President’s comments are unlikely to signal any confirmed trade deal being announced soon, however it will come at a boost for Mrs. May as then-President Barack Obama said the UK would be at the “back of the queue” were they to leave the European Union.
Mr. Trump, though, has consistently pledged to put American interests before those of any ally countries and a UK-US deal remains a long way from being agreed.
Mr. Trump, who publicly clashed with London Mayor Sadiq Khan after the London Bridge terror attack, announced he will be visiting London, but asked when, he replied: “We’ll work that out.”
There were calls for Mrs. May to rescind the Queen’s invitation to Mr. Trump in January, and after not being mentioned in the Queen’s speech, it was thought Mr. Trump was not going to visit.
Mrs. May did not raise the US president’s comments about London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and in the formal bilateral did not raise Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, despite the issue causing tension between countries in drawing up the G20 communique.
However, the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mrs. May did not go into any specific detail of what a trade agreement might look like, he added, but “was talking in broad terms about the determination to get a good deal for both countries”. Other issues discussed included China’s overproduction of steel, the Syrian ceasefire agreed by Trump and Vladimir Putin and the Iran nuclear deal.