US-UK trade deal not so quick

Johnson has first bi­lat­eral meet­ing with Trump

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

It will be tight to meet the US’ de­sire to do a post-brexit trade deal with Bri­tain within a year, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris Johnson said Sun­day.

Johnson, who took of­fice last month, had his first bi­lat­eral meet­ing with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ear­lier on Sun­day at the G7 meet­ing in France and the two dis­cussed a range of is­sues in­clud­ing trade.

In in­ter­views with Bri­tish tele­vi­sion me­dia after­ward, Johnson said the US wanted to do a deal within a year of Bri­tain leav­ing the EU on Oc­to­ber 31.

“Years and years is an ex­ag­ger­a­tion, but to do it all within a year is go­ing to be tight,” he told BBC TV.

Johnson also said the chances of Bri­tain agree­ing a Brexit deal with the EU were im­prov­ing but it would be “touch and go.”

Johnson had in the run-up to the meet­ing urged Trump to re­move the “con­sid­er­able bar­ri­ers” for UK com­pa­nies seek­ing to ex­port to the Amer­i­can mar­ket, say­ing they risked im­ped­ing a free-trade deal af­ter Brexit.

But the US pres­i­dent said, “We’re work­ing on a very big trade deal [with Bri­tain] and I think it’s go­ing to work out.”

Trump boasted that “a very big trade deal, big­ger than we’ve ever had” would be re­al­ized “quickly.”

Johnson con­grat­u­lated Trump on the strength of the US econ­omy, which he said was “fan­tas­tic.”

But while hold­ing back from strong crit­i­cism, he ex­pressed alarm over the trade ten­sions be­tween the US and China.

“Just to reg­is­ter a faint, sheep-like note of our view on the trade war – we are in fa­vor of trade peace on the whole,” Johnson told Trump. “The UK has prof­ited mas­sively in the last 200 years from free trade.”

Asked what his ad­vice was for Brexit, Trump replied, “He [Johnson] needs no ad­vice, he is the right man for the job.”

“I’ve been say­ing that for a long time,” added Trump, not­ing that such com­ments had not made his pre­de­ces­sor Theresa May happy while she was still in of­fice up to July.

Trump also said the US is “very close to a ma­jor deal with Ja­pan.” He said the two sides have “been work­ing on it for five months.”

He was speak­ing shortly be­fore hold­ing talks with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe on the side­lines of the G7 sum­mit.

The two sides have “been work­ing on it for five months,” he said.

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