US-UK trade had previously been "impeded" by Britain's membership of the EU says Trump

US and UK working on 'very substantial' trade deal

Trump and Boris Johnson agree to start free trade deal talks immediately after Brexit, Downing Street says

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump have agreed to begin free trade talks as soon as the UK leaves the European Union, according to Downing Street.

US President Donald Trump has said talks about a "very substantial" trade deal with the UK are under way.

He said a bilateral post-Brexit deal could lead to a "three to four, five times" increase in current trade.

There are no details about how this would be achieved.

The two world leaders spoke during a call on Friday evening, in which Downing Street said the men discussed the “unparalleled” trade opportunities offered by Brexit.

“They agreed that Brexit offers an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen the economic partnership between the UK and United States,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“The leaders both expressed their commitment to delivering an ambitious free trade agreement and to starting negotiations as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU.”

Once the UK leaves, he said, the UK can expect to do "much more" trade with the US, he said. 

Mr Trump, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Friday, said he had called Mr Johnson and congratulated him on his new position.

The US president indicated the two are working on a “very substantial” trade agreement, and added: “I predict he will be a great prime minister.

“He has what it takes. They needed him for a long time.”

Downing Street said they also spoke about current tensions with Iran, which represents Mr Johnson’s first diplomatic challenge as prime minister.

The pair discussed the need to “work together and with partners to address their [Iran’s] destabilising behaviour in the Gulf”.

After a phone call with Boris Johnson on Friday, Mr Trump said the new prime minister would be "great". He added US-UK trade had previously been "impeded" by Britain's membership of the EU.

The EU customs union forbids members negotiating trade agreements separately from the EU. Instead, trade agreements are negotiated collectively.

Downing Street claimed Mr Trump used the call to “congratulate” Mr Johnson on his new role.

The spokesperson added: “They discussed the important relationship between our countries and the president’s successful state visit to the UK last month.

“They ended by looking forward to seeing each other at the G7 Summit in Biarritz next month.”

The news comes days after Mr Johnson officially assumed the role of prime minister, setting off a political bloodletting that saw 17 senior ministers in Theresa May’s former cabinet resigning or being sacked.

Standing outside of No 10 shortly after becoming prime minister, Mr Johnson denounced “the doubters, the doomsters, and the gloomsters” of Brexit, and pledged to move quickly to remove the country from the economic alliance with Europe, “no ifs or buts”.

“After three years of unfounded self-doubt, it is time to change the record,” Mr Johnson said during a defiant and stinging rebuttal of Ms May’s leadership, though one that did not mention his successor by name.

He has pledged to pull the UK out of the EU by the 31 October.

Source: BBC / Independent /LNP

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