Trump wants a bilateral UK trade deal 'as soon as possible,' US ambassador says


President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May walk at the White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May walk at the White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.

President Donald Trump wants to establish a post-Brexit bilateral trade deal with the United Kingdom “as soon as possible,” the U.S. ambassador to the UK told reporters Friday.

The Trump administration has committees “from every department” dedicated to figuring out how to put together a U.S.-UK trade deal “really rapidly and efficiently” following Britain’s exit from the European Union, Ambassador Robert “Woody” Johnson said in a conference call.

“He would love to do a bilateral trade deal, and he is really ready to step up on that the minute we get the go ahead to do it. He will get it done fast because I know it is a major priority for him,” Johnson said.

The commitment to a bilateral deal followed remarks about Trump’s upcoming trip to the UK, where the president is scheduled to meet with both Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II. The mission of the trip is to “strengthen the special relationship” between the two nations “through shared security and prosperity,” Johnson said.

The visit with one of the United States’ oldest and strongest allies will be bookended by two other European summits scheduled in July. The UK trip will directly follow Trump’s summit with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. And after spending the weekend with first lady Melania Trump in Scotland, Trump will head to Helsinki to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16.

Johnson said Trump was impartial toward the type of Brexit that Britain ends up enacting — whether the clean-break departure from the EU known as a “hard Brexit,” or the “soft” version that would preserve some ties between Britain and the EU.

“Whether it’s hard or soft, we know great Britain is going to do very well,” Johsnon said.

The president’s envoy is scheduled to arrive in the evening on Thursday, July 12, when May will host a black-tie dinner at Blenheim Palace, famous for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The next morning, Trump will visit a military site before traveling to Chequers for a working lunch on a range of foreign policy issues.

Trump will meet the queen at Windsor Castle on Friday before traveling to Scotland for the rest of that weekend.



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