US-UK trade deal not so quick
Johnson has first bilateral meeting with Trump
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.