Gerard Lyons, the co-founder of Economists for Brexit, said the US leader’s calls to “put America first” should be taken with a pinch of salt when it comes to the economy.
The economist said it would not be in America’s interest to pursue a “truly protectionist” agenda.
The comments come after President Trump vowed to make significant changes to US trade and immigration policy, threatened to impose steep tariffs on imports and proposed hefty tax cuts.
“If the US becomes truly protectionist then that will not be good for the US economy itself,” Mr Lyons told Express.co.uk. “But I think we need to separate some of the rhetoric from the likely reality of policy.
Gerard Lyons said it was not in America's interest to pursue a protectionist agenda
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I would actually say, ever since I’ve been in business every US president has always put America first. They might not have talked about it in the same terms
“The President seems to have surrounded himself with some very good businesspeople. Therefore I think the policy will be one of talking about putting America first.
“And I would actually say, ever since I’ve been in business every US president has always put America first. They might not have talked about it in the same terms.”
Mr Lyons, who was chief economic advisor to Boris Johnson when he was the Mayor of London, said it was vital the UK had strong relationships with big economies post-Brexit.
“Clearly, if we’re leaving the EU, as the Prime Minister’s touched on, we need to be global in our perspective,” he said.
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“A global Britain means halving good relations with other big economies outside the EU – America, China, India, just to name a few.”
He said it was important to remove the billionaire tycoon’s personality from the equation.
“I think it’s important to take the personality out of this in terms of Trump. He obviously said many unsavoury things in the campaign,” said Mr Lyons.
“I think we need to step back from that and look at what’s in the national interests of the United Kingdom. Clearly it’s in the national interest to have a good relationship with the United States of America. We need to look at this in a number of different ways.”
He then highlighted Donald Trump comparisons to former Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.
“The markets at the moment have taken on board the positives associated with Trump,” he said. “The fact that he’s likely – in their mind – to be a combination of 1930s Roosevelt, boosting infrastructure, and 1980s Regan, cutting taxes, helping business.
“Hence the financial markets in the US and globally have done well since his election victory.”
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