The Prime Minister confirmed she meet with the former business tycoon about Britain’s “future trading relationship” on Friday.
Downing Street officials revealed the two leaders would “discuss how we can deepen our already huge economic and commercial relationship to the benefit of both of our countries, including our shared ambition to sign a UK-US trade deal once the UK has left the EU”, according to the Times.
Theresa May is set to travel to the US this week
We can look at areas even in advance of being able to sign a formal trade deal
A Downing Street official added: “Trade between both countries is already worth over £150 billion and the US is the single biggest source of inward investment to the UK.”
Donald Trump has claimed he wants to secure a quick trade deal with post-Brexit Britain as the President embarks on his new economic programme of putting “America First” – which free trade experts expect to be a return to protectionist policies.
Theresa May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “We can look at areas even in advance of being able to sign a formal trade deal. Perhaps we could look at barriers to trade at the moment and remove some of those barriers to open up that new trading relationship.”
Federica Mogherini (right) warned Boris Johnson not to begin formal trade talks with foreign nations
Britain’s success in attracting proposed post-Brexit trade deals has angered EU officials, who have promised to make any deal for Britain worse than the existing EU membership.
But the EU’s foreign affairs commissioner, Federica Mogherini, made Boris Johnson restate that Britain was legally barred from beginning new trade talks.
Mrs Mogherini said: “It’s absolutely clear on the EU side that as long as a country is a member state of the EU, which is something the UK is at the moment, there are no negotiations bilaterally on any trade agreement with third parties.
“This is in the treaties and this is valid for all member states as long as they remain member states, until the very last day.”
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Fri, January 20, 2017
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Despite threats from the EU and Mr Trump’s tone of protectionist policies, the PM said she was “confident” a deal could be agreed.
She said: “I think his inauguration speech had a very clear message to it, which is the message that he gave during his campaign, about putting America first.
“But if you think about it, any leader, any government as we do here in the United Kingdom, when we look at any issue, we ensure we’re putting the UK’s interests and interests of British people first.”
Federica Mogherini talks with Boris Johnson
She added: “He and people around him have also spoken of the importance of a trade arrangement with the United Kingdom and that is something they are looking to talk to us about at an early stage, and I would expect to be able to talk to him about that alongside the other issues I will be discussing with him when I am in Washington.”
The Tory leader will also meet with Republican congressmen on Thursday – before her meeting with Trump – to discuss a UK-US trade deal.
The meeting in Philadelphia is seen as vital to paving the way for any trade deal.