Donald Trump: UK is losing the ‘anchor round its ankle’

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson
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US President Donald Trump said Boris Johnson ‘was the right man for the job’ of delivering Brexit

President Trump has promised a “very big trade deal” with the UK, saying its departure from the EU will be like losing “an anchor round the ankle”.

“My own experience of the way Americans work, the size and complexity of the deal we want to do probably means we won’t be able to do within a year.

When asked if it could take five years, he replied: “No, we’ll do it faster than that.

“We need to do it fast, but to get the whole thing done from soup to nuts within a year is going to be a big ask.”

Giuseppe Conte, Donald Tusk, Shinzo Abe, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with leaders at the annual G7 summit on Sunday

Before his talks with the US President, Mr Johnson spoke about “massive opportunities for the UK to prise open the American market”.

As a member of the European Union, the UK cannot make its own trade deals with other countries – and the EU does not have a free trade deal with the US.

The UK has already agreed 13 “continuity” deals with 38 countries that will apply post-Brexit.

Offering an example of an American trade restriction, Mr Johnson said: “Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market because of, I don’t know, some sort of food and drug administration restriction.”

He continued: “UK bell peppers cannot get into the US market at all.

“Wine shipments are heavily restricted. If you want to export wine made in England to the US you have to go through a US distributor.

“There is a tax on British micro-breweries in the US that doesn’t apply to US micro-breweries in the UK.”

The government added that tariffs on some UK goods in the US can reach up to 28% for fashion, 15% for machinery and 35% for food and drink.

Donald and Melania Trump
Image copyrightEPA
Donald and Melania Trump arrived in France for the G7 summit on Saturday

David Henig, the UK director of the European Centre For International Political Economy, said the US “would be loathe” to get rid of the barriers intended to protect US producers.

He added: “The US is quite protectionist – the US have never done a trade deal the likes of which Mr Johnson is describing.

“The question is whether the US is prepared to give the UK something and what we would have to give them in return.

“It is less clear what Trump wants in terms of trade altogether.”

In June, Mr Trump made comments that the NHS “was on the table” in US-UK trade deal – but later rowed back on his remarks.

At the G7 summit Mr Johnson was asked if he had made it clear the NHS was not on the table.

He replied: “Not only have I made clear of that, the president has made that very, very clear. There is complete unanimity on that point.”

Presentational grey line

What is a trade deal?

Trade deals involve two or more countries agreeing a set of terms by which they buy and sell goods and services from each other.

Deals are designed to increase trade by eliminating or reducing trade barriers. These barriers might include import or export taxes (tariffs), quotas, or differing regulations on things such as safety or labelling.

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