Boris Johnson the right man to deliver Brexit, Donald Trump says at G7 meeting
The leaders were holding discussions about a UK-US trade deal once Britain has left the European Union.
Donald Trump hailed Boris Johnson as the “right man for the job” of delivering Brexit and promised a “very big trade deal” as the two leaders held their first meeting.
The US President said he had long held his views on Mr Johnson’s suitability for being Prime Minister, which “didn’t make your predecessor very happy”.
The two leaders were meeting at the G7 summit to talk about the possibility of a UK-US trade deal once Britain has left the European Union.
The president said: “We’re going to do a very big trade deal, bigger than we’ve ever had with the UK and now at some point they won’t have the obstacle, they won’t have the anchor around their ankle, because that’s what they have.”
However, Mr Johnson has warned that a trade deal with the US will not be “plain sailing” and has raised a series of areas where he wants concessions from Washington.
He told Mr Trump: “Talking of the anchor, Donald, what we want is for our ships to take freight, say, from New York to Boston, which for the moment they’re not able to do.”
I know that there will be some tough talks ahead because at the moment I don't think we sell a single joint of British lamb in the United States; we don't sell any beef.... And there are huge opportunities for the UK to penetrate the American market in ways we currently don't Boris Johnson
The president said he wanted a deal done “quickly” because in the past he had been “stymied” under Theresa May and while the UK was still negotiating Brexit.
He added: “This is a different person and this is a person that’s going to be a great Prime Minister, in my opinion.”
Mr Johnson told him: “I know that there will be some tough talks ahead because at the moment I don’t think we sell a single joint of British lamb in the United States; we don’t sell any beef…. And there are huge opportunities for the UK to penetrate the American market in ways we currently don’t.”
Asked if he had made clear his views on protecting the NHS and animal welfare standards in trade talks with Mr Trump, the Prime Minister told the PA news agency: “There is complete unanimity on that point.”
The Prime Minister also warned Mr Trump against escalating his trade war with China.
“We are in favour of trade peace on the whole,” he said as the two leaders and their teams had a working breakfast at the Hotel du Palais.
The two leaders agreed to set up a working group focused on closer economic links.
US director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and UK Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill have been directed to set up the special relationship economic working group (SREWG).
“The SREWG will develop market-oriented principles for economic growth and increase bilateral co-operation on issues related to the modern 21st-century economy,” the White House and Number 10 said in a joint statement.
The statement said that during the talks in Biarritz the two leaders discussed how Brexit presented opportunities for “deepening our already robust economic and commercial relationship, including a comprehensive trade agreement”.
Mr Johnson is also due to have talks at the G7 with European Council president Donald Tusk.
Reports suggested Mr Johnson will tell Mr Tusk that the UK will only hand over a fraction of the £39 billion divorce bill agreed by Theresa May if there is no Brexit deal.
Mr Johnson ordered Government lawyers to calculate how much of the bill the UK is liable to pay and they concluded it could be as little as £7 billion, the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday reported.