British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday held his first face-to-face talks with Donald Trump since taking office, with the US President backing him as the “right man” to deliver Brexit for Britain.
Trump and Johnson met on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G7) summit hosted by France in Biarritz. Asked what his advice was for Brexit, Trump replied: “He (Johnson) needs no advice, he is the right man for the job.”
“I’ve been saying that for a long time,” added Trump, noting that such comments had not made his predecessor Theresa May happy while she was still in office up to July.
Johnson had in the run-up to the meeting urged Trump to remove the “considerable barriers” for UK companies seeking to export to the American market, saying they risked impeding a free-trade deal after Brexit.
But the American president said: “We’re working on a very big trade deal (with Britain) and I think it’s going to work out.”
He boasted that a “a very big trade deal, bigger than we’ve ever had” would be realised “quickly”.
Johnson congratulated Trump on the strength of the US economy which he said was “fantastic”. But while holding back from strong criticism, he expressed alarm over the trade tensions between the US and China.
“Just to register a faint, sheep-like note of our view on the trade war — we are in favour of trade peace on the whole,” Johnson told Trump.
Johnson added: “The UK has profited massively in the last 200 years from free trade.”
Trump also said the US is “very close to a major deal with Japan.” He said the two sides have “been working on it for five months.”
He was speaking shortly before holding talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
The two sides have “been working on it for five months,” he told reporters.