UK, US agree to pursue ‘ambitious’ trade deal: May

Source:AFP Published: 2018/7/13 22:28:41

Trump hails ‘very, very strong’ relationship

Britain and the US have agreed to pursue "an ambitious UK-US free trade agreement" after Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday following talks with US President Donald Trump.

"We agreed today that as the UK leaves the European Union, we will pursue an ambitious UK-US free trade agreement," she told a joint press conference, a day after Trump skewered her Brexit strategy and said it could "kill" prospects for a trade deal with the US.

Trump said Friday ties between Britain and the US were "very very strong" after launching an extraordinary attack on May's Brexit strategy during a visit already marked by protests.

Sitting alongside his host at the start of talks at May's country retreat of Chequers, Trump told reporters: "The relationship is very, very strong. We really have a very good relationship."

Their meeting came just hours after an interview was published in which Trump said May's plans for close future ties with the EU would "probably kill" her hopes for a US trade deal.

He suggested this was not what voters wanted, said he had advised May to take another path and added that Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign minister over the plan, would make "a great prime minister."

Trump's comments saw the value of the pound plunge on currency markets.

On Friday, Trump said that at a gala dinner at Blenheim Palace the night before he and May spoke for almost 90 minutes and had "probably never developed a better relationship."

The prime minister smiled and said there was "a lot to discuss," including "the special relationship, which is great, between the UK and US."

She said they would discuss "the real opportunities" on a US trade deal, as well as foreign, defence and security issues "where we work really closely together."

Trump's interview with The Sun came before he flew into Britain on Thursday from Brussels.

Junior foreign minister Alan Duncan sought to brush off the remarks, telling the BBC: "Donald Trump is a controversialist, that's his style... I don't think we see it as rude."

In London, demonstrators began gathering for a mass protest against Trump, beginning with the flying of a huge balloon of the president depicted as a crying baby outside the Houses of Parliament.

Posted in: EUROPE

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