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25 Aug, 2019 08:01

Trump teases trade deal for UK once Johnson gets rid of EU, the ‘anchor around its ankle’

Trump teases trade deal for UK once Johnson gets rid of EU, the ‘anchor around its ankle’

A “big” trade deal between the US and the UK will be possible once Britain leaves the European Union, Donald Trump has promised, describing the bloc as an obstacle that has hindered London’s economic prospects.

The US president attended a working breakfast with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 summit in France on Sunday, where he sounded confident that a comprehensive trade agreement between the US and Britain could be swiftly delivered. It will go much smoother once Brussels is cut out of the equation, Trump predicted.

"We’re going to do a very big trade deal, bigger than we’ve ever had with the UK and now at some point they won’t have the obstacle, they won’t have the anchor around their ankle because that’s what they have,” Trump said, referencing Britain’s looming breakaway from the EU.

However, the two leaders sent mixed signals about future negotiations.

While Trump expressed confidence that they will be able to quickly agree a deal and praised Johnson as the “right man” for a prosperous Brexit Britain, BoJo sounded more cautious, saying he was “excited” about the talks but expected them to be “tough.”

Also on rt.com Leaving the cheap way: BoJo to tell Tusk that UK won’t pay £39bn under no-deal Brexit

En route to the summit, Johnson told reporters that he would press Trump to drop barriers to UK exports. The British prime minister said that there were “massive opportunities” for UK companies in the American market, but that Washington would have to “compromise and open up their approach” to trade.

The two leaders are also obviously divided on the US’ ongoing trade war with China. Trump maintained that tariffs on Chinese goods were necessary to correct years of unfair economic competition, and even said he would be open to escalating the standoff.

Johnson raised, to use his own words, a “sheep-like” objection, stressing that the UK was in favor of “trade peace” and preferred free trade over tariffs.

Trump’s desire to see his ‘special relationship’ ally Britain leave the EU is in line with his previous behavior – the US president has repeatedly locked horns with EU leaders over economic, political and military matters. He enraged Washington’s European allies after unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. The controversial decision has been followed by demands that NATO allies – Germany in particular – drastically increase defense spending. On the economic front, Trump’s tariffs – as well as re-imposed sanctions on Tehran – have eroded confidence in Washington’s commitment to preserving global economic and political order.

Also on rt.com Full-on trade war: Trump jacks up tariffs on $550bn of Chinese goods, blasts 'unfair' response

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