Britain in 'front seat'
for U.S. trade deal, top Republican says
Send a link to a friend
[January 10, 2017]
(Reuters) - Britain will be in the "front seat" to negotiate a new trade
deal with the incoming administration of Donald Trump, a top Republican
in the United States Senate said, the BBC reported.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said after
meeting British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that a trade deal
between the two countries would be a priority as Britain prepares to
leave the European Union.
Last year, ahead of the Brexit vote, President Barack Obama exhorted
Britons to stay in the EU and warned that if they left they would be at
"the back of the queue" for a U.S. trade deal.
Corker said Johnson knows full well that "there is no way the United
Kingdom is going to take a back seat".
"They will take a front seat and I think it will be our priority to make
sure that we deal with them on a trade agreement initially but in all
respects in a way that demonstrates the long-term friendship that we've
had for so long," Corker was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Trump, while a candidate for the U.S. presidency, hailed Brexit as a
"great thing" when visiting Scotland the day after the vote, though
Britain cannot sign a trade deal until it leaves the EU which under
current plans will likely be in 2019.
After visits to see aides in Trump Tower in New York and meet members of
Congress in Washington, Johnson said there had been a "huge fund of
goodwill" towards Britain and a desire to move quickly on a trade deal.
[to top of second column]
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump listens to questions from
reporters in the lobby at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., January 9,
2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
want to do it and they want to do it fast and that understanding was most vivid
and most urgent on the part of the incoming administration," he told parliament
on Tuesday when asked about his trip.
Speaking earlier, Johnson also described the incoming Trump administration as
having a "very exciting agenda of change" and stressed that close relations
between the two countries were not under threat.
"We are America’s principal partner in working for global security and, of
course, we are great campaigners for free trade," Johnson was quoted as saying
by the Guardian newspaper.
"We hear that we are first in line to do a great free trade deal with the United
States. So it's going to be a very exciting year for both our countries."
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and William James; editing by Stephen Addison)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.