The Trump administration next week will begin laying groundwork for a trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K. that would take effect after Britain leaves the European Union, a White House aide said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said last week that she would move to cleanly separate her country’s economy from Europe’s and enact immigration controls before negotiating new trade deals with the continent and other countries, an approach deemed a “hard Brexit.” Trump officials believe their talks with her government encouraged May to be more aggressive in exiting the union.
Two of President Donald Trump’s senior advisers, Steve Bannon and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, met with U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in New York on Jan. 8. The three are preparing for the future pact, the aide said, requesting anonymity because the discussions aren’t public.
Bannon, Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and other administration officials have also met with British defense and intelligence leaders, the aide said.
The British embassy in Washington had no immediate comment.
President Barack Obama warned in April that if the U.K. pursued Brexit, the country would go to the “back of the queue” for U.S. trade deals. U.K. voters chose to leave the EU anyway in a June referendum, and Trump now appears to be scrapping Obama’s position on the matter.
NFL Team Owner
Trump has tapped Woody Johnson, the billionaire owner of the New York Jets NFL team, to serve as U.S. ambassador to the U.K., a person familiar with the matter said on Jan. 19.
May and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will make visits to the U.S. this month to meet with Trump, White House officials said.
May will meet with Trump on Friday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee said on Saturday. Pena Nieto will meet with Trump on Jan. 31, said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Neither provided further details on the meetings.
Trade, immigration and Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall on the southern U.S. border loom large in the president’s relations with Mexico. Brexit, the campaign against Islamic State terrorism, the Syrian civil war and sanctions against Russia are key issues in relations between the Trump administration and Britain.