The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, attended a meeting with President Donald Trump on Friday 27 January, the first visit of any foreign dignitary to the new US President following his inauguration. During a joint press conference of the two world leaders, President Trump backed Brexit, stating “I think Brexit is going to be a wonderful thing for your country. You’re going to have your own identity and you’re going to be able to make your own trade deals without having someone watching you”.
Following the meeting, a Downing Street spokesperson announced that Mrs May and President Trump had agreed to begin work immediately on a new negotiating pact to pave the way for a full trade deal between the UK and US following Brexit. The leaders agreed their governments would set up working groups to scope out what could be achieved before Brexit occurs, in the hope that a new trade agreement is ready as soon as possible following the UK’s exit from the EU.
Initial deals could include the mutual recognition of professional qualifications between the two countries, the removal of mobile phone roaming charges, and the removal of non-tariff barriers which block the export of certain UK agriculture and food products. In a speech to the US Republican Party following her meeting with President Trump, Mrs May told delegates that she was delighted that the Trump administration had made a US/UK trade deal “one of its earliest priorities” and she looked “forward to pursuing talks” about a free trade agreement.