Hamburg G20: Donald Trump expects trade deal with UK 'very quickly'

US President also says he will be coming to London—but is not sure when

Jon Sharman
Saturday 08 July 2017 09:29
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Theresa May talks with Donald Trump during the G20 leaders' summit in Hamburg
Theresa May talks with Donald Trump during the G20 leaders' summit in Hamburg

Donald Trump has said he expects a trade deal with the UK to be completed "very, very quickly".

The US President is due to meet Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on Saturday.

The deal would be "great for both countries," he said, but provided no details. He claimed the new trade arrangements would be "very powerful" and talked up the "very special relationship" between the US and UK.

Mr Trump also said he plans to come to London. Asked when, he said: "We'll work that out."

He is due to return to Washington, DC, on Saturday evening.

There was no mention of Mr Trump's long-promised state visit to the UK in last month's Queen's Speech.

It followed the weakening of Ms May's Government in the 8 June general election.

Activists across the UK had promised huge protests if and when the visit went ahead.

When Ms May became the first leader to visit the newly-inaugurated President Trump in Washington, in January, she claimed he had made a new deal with the UK one of his "earliest priorities".

But at that point — Brexit still a long way off — Ms May was only able to discuss the principle of any new trade arrangement.

Nonetheless, Mr Trump told reporters in Hamburg on Saturday: "We have been working on a trade deal which will be a very, very big deal, a very powerful deal, great for both countries and I think we will have that done very, very quickly."

The President, who campaigned on an "America first" platform, has made "fair trade" a central theme of his foreign relations. He insists the US has been badly treated by other countries.

On Friday the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, said the global trade deals promised by Ms May would make only limited difference to the British economy, because of the large portion of UK exports that come from services rather than physical goods.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet at G20 summit

He said: "Clearly there is potential to expand our goods trade with the rest of the world. History teaches us, though, that this will be a process, it will not be a sudden change.

"We will have to negotiate agreements, those agreements will no doubt have implementation periods.

"Then of course if your business is in complex goods, consumer goods, intermediate products going into supply chains, you don’t just start selling on day one, you have to build the market. This is a process and it will take time."

Additional reporting by agencies

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