Sunday

26th Jan 2020

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

Support quality EU news

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

... or join 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.

Croatia's EU presidency optimism beset by problems

Croatia wants to focus on economic development, connectivity, internal and external security and a globally more assertive Europe over its six-month presidency - but Brexit and the next budget negotiations may put pay to that.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan premier refuses to step down, despite ruling
  2. UK set to support new fossil fuel projects in Africa
  3. Leftist MEPs to visit jailed Catalan MEP
  4. Bulgaria may expel Russian diplomats over 'espionage'
  5. EU, China, others agree on WTO body to settle disputes
  6. EU Commission makes move against Poland on judges law
  7. Soros pledges $1bn for liberal universities
  8. Merkel: Germany unprepared for 2015 refugee crisis

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. AI must have human oversight, MEPs recommend
  2. Second-hand cars flaw in EU Green Deal
  3. Why do EU arms end up in Libya despite UN ban?
  4. Brexit deal to be signed, as sides poised for tough talks
  5. Timmermans urges EU governments to tax carbon
  6. Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote
  7. China spy suspect had EU permission to work as lobbyist
  8. EU to unveil 5G 'toolbox' to tackle security threats

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us