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Trump plays down prospect of post-Brexit trade deal with UK

By Hugh Wilson

President says the US ‘can’t make a deal’ due to ‘certain aspects’ of EU withdrawal agreement

US President Donald Trump has used a British radio interview to play down the prospect of a US-UK trade deal after Brexit.

Talking to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on LBC radio, Trump said that the US “can’t make a deal with the UK” because of “certain aspects” of the withdrawal deal UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck with the European Union (EU) last month.

“We can’t make a trade deal with the UK,” he said. “I think we can do many times the numbers we’re doing right now and certainly much bigger numbers than you’re doing under the EU. Boris wants to be very careful with it. Under certain ways we would be precluded, which would be ridiculous.”

Trump and Farage are longstanding allies – Farage campaigned for Trump during the 2016 presidential election campaign – and Trump urged Johnson and Farage to work together and become “an unstoppable force” in December’s UK general election.

Trump also described Johnson as “the exact right guy for the times” but his intervention is a blow to the Prime Minister, who has talked up the prospects of making global free trade deals after Brexit.

A Downing Street spokesman contradicted Trump’s assessment of the withdrawal deal, saying: “The PM negotiated a new deal which ensures that we take back control of our laws, trade, borders and money – a deal which people said he could never negotiate. Under this new deal the whole of the UK will leave the EU customs union, which means we can strike our own free trade deals.”

In August, Trump had promised “a very big trade deal” between the UK and US, and said that leaving the EU would be like the UK losing “an anchor round the ankle”.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn responded to the President’s latest comments by saying Trump was “trying to interfere in Britain’s election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected”.

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