United Kingdom trade delegation eyes post-Brexit deal with Trump

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking to media after touring Hillsborough Castle in Hillsborough Northern Ireland. Liam McBurney  PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking to media after touring Hillsborough Castle in Hillsborough Northern Ireland. Liam McBurney PA Wire

The Foreign Secretary chatted with Mr Trump in the Oval Office last night on a whistle-stop tour of North America as he seek to build support for Transatlantic trade deals after Brexit.

President Trump had told reporters after his first conversation with new Prime Minister Boris Johnson that a trade deal with post-Brexit Britain could be "three to four, five times" bigger than it is now.

The US will be "on the doorstep, pen in hand" to sign a new trade deal with Britain after Brexit, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed, despite warnings from multiple congressional lawmakers that such a deal could be blocked if Prime Minister Boris Johnson presses on with plans for a no-deal Brexit. "We value it enormously and we really appreciate, both from the administration but also from the personal remarks you and the President made, that the friendship that we have between the United Kingdom and the U.S. is something that we prize and we look forward to nurturing in the weeks, months and years ahead".

Raab later added that recently-seated British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "resolved" to leave the European Union by the end of October, but said the United Kingdom will remain "good friends, and good neighbors" with Europe.

He said Mr Trump had been "effusive in his warmth" towards Britain and had expressed his "high regard" for Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

With a no-deal Brexit appearing more likely that could wreak havoc on British commerce, Johnson dispatched his top diplomat and foreign trade minister to Washington to lay the groundwork for bilateral trade pact to minimize the predicted turmoil.

In a brief statement, Mr Raab said: "I was delighted to meet the president and the vice president on my first visit to Washington as Foreign Secretary". He stressed that the British government wants to broker a free trade agreement with the U.S.

Will EU capitals look at the withdrawal agreement again, and perhaps change the terms of the Brexit negotiation mandate they have given to the European Commission in order to offer concessions?

"Having already laid the groundwork, we are fast-tracking this deal so that businesses are able to take advantage of the golden opportunity to increase trade with the United States as soon as possible", she added.

But in a huge vote of confidence in the Boris administration, Mr Trump called him into his office for the surprise talks. "I think there are some risks but we can manage them", he replied.

"The US is our biggest trading partner and we have more than $1 trillion invested in each other's economies".

"We are going to tell people - citizens and businesses - when we know", he said. It needs an agreement very soon. "We want to get formal talks moving quickly", she said.

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