Saturday

17th Apr 2021

Trump scuppers trade deal with UK under May's Brexit

  • Trump's first official state visit to the UK followed his testy two-day Nato summit in Brussels where he made inaccurate statements on US spending for Europe's defence (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

US president Donald Trump has said a future bilateral trade deal with the UK is unlikely should Britain leave the European Union under terms only proposed on Thursday by prime minister Theresa May.

In remarks that will likely further weaken May's already tenuous grip on her own government, Trump told The Sun, a British newspaper, in an interview published Friday (13 July) that her proposed 'soft' post-Brexit relations with the European Union would scupper a US trade deal.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Theresa May is now under intense pressure over Brexit, after two cabinet resignations and an angry response to her white paper (Photo: Downing Street)

"If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal," he told The Sun.

The publication of the article coincided with Trump's first official state visit to the UK, hosted by May, following his testy two-day Nato summit in Brussels where he made inaccurate statements on US spending for Europe's defence.

The US president is known for his brash disdain of free trade deals and multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organization. The latest move against May appears to be part of a pattern to escalate tensions with close allies.

He also told the paper that Boris Johnson, who resigned on Monday (9 July) as foreign secretary in protest of May's Brexit white paper, would make "a great prime minister" and that May ignored his advice on Brexit.

"I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn't listen to me," he said.

May had aimed to leverage the prize of a future trade deal with the United States in an effort gain support for her post-Brexit plans.

For her part May, in a Facebook post published before Trump's arrival in the UK and his Sun interview, insisted that "we are having good discussions with countries we would aim to sign trade deals with, including the US, as I will discuss with President Trump when he arrives in the UK on Thursday."

With that prospect now in greater doubt, her 104-page proposal tabled earlier this week appears increasingly shaky.

Aside from Johnson, the plan also led to the resignation of David Davis as Brexit secretary, also on Monday, in a chaotic week for the UK government.

Her pro-Brexit critics within her Conservative party say it fails to wrestle away the EU's reach, undermining Brexit's independence and sovereignty claims.

Instead, May's proposal seeks an association agreement with the EU, with a free trade area for goods.

It also put forward ideas on a "combined customs territory" and opened up the possibility of giving the European Court of Justice some jurisdiction, both of which have angered Conservative backbench MPs.

UK's May moves towards 'soft' Brexit

In the wake of two cabinet resignations on the issue, UK government publishes its long-awaited vision for the future relationship with the EU, which would revolve around a free trade agreement on goods, but would end free movement.

Mr Brexit leads mini anti-May rebellion

Britain's Brexit negotiator, David Davis, has resigned in a mini-rebellion, adding to uncertainty on the EU talks as the clock ticks to March 2019.

Stage set for Trump-Putin finale

Trump hoped to befriend Putin at a showcase summit in Helsinki, following US president's attacks on Nato and British leaders this week.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us