Britain will be in the “front seat” to negotiate a new trade deal with the incoming administration of US president-elect Donald Trump, a top Republican in the US Senate said, according to the BBC.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said after meeting British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson that a trade deal between the two nations would be a priority as Britain prepares to leave the EU.
Ahead of the Brexit vote, US President Barack Obama exhorted Britons to stay in the EU and warned that if they left, the nation would be at “the back of the queue” for a US 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 US presidency, hailed Brexit as a “great thing” when visiting Scotland the day after the vote, although 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 at Trump Tower in New York and meet members of Congress in Washington, Johnson said: “Clearly, the Trump administration-to-be has a very exciting agenda of change. One thing that won’t change, though, is the closeness of the relationship between the US and the UK.”
“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,” Johnson said.