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Trump touts ‘very big’ trade deal with Britain

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump touted the prospects of a “very big” trade deal with Britain on Tuesday as the minister tasked with clinching accords for the post-Brexit era met officials in Washington.

“Working on major Trade Deal with the United Kingdom. Could be very big & exciting. JOBS!” Trump tweeted.

“The E.U. is very protectionist with the U.S. STOP!” he added, repeating a common line of attack against trading partners for what he says are unfair policies that hurt US businesses.

The latest Twitter swipe came as US and British officials opened the second day of the inaugural round of talks aimed at boosting trade relations between the two countries in the post-Brexit era.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is meeting with his British counterpart Liam Fox for the US-UK Trade and Investment Working Group.

READ MORE: Trump visit to Britain to be delayed until 2018

It will be “a key mechanism to deepen our already strong bilateral trade and investment relationship, and to lay the groundwork for our future trade relationship once the UK has left the EU,” Lighthizer said in a statement Monday.

“I look forward to building on our already strong economic relationship and furthering our mutual goal of achieving free and fair trade and investment to create good-paying jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Fox said it will be important to give businesses in both countries continuity while Britain negotiates its status with the EU and after Brexit.

“This will be our forum to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment relationship and deepen the already extensive economic ties between the UK and US,” Fox said.

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Trade between the two countries is already worth about $230 billion a year, and together there is around $1 trillion invested in each other’s economies, according to USTR.

Fox, in Washington for a two-day visit, said the United States is Britain’s largest export market — bigger than France and Germany combined — and the number one destination for British investment.

He stressed that even though Britain is leaving the EU, London is committed to an open, rules-based trading system.

“The principles of free and open trade have underpinned the multilateral institutions, rules and alliances that helped rebuild post-war Europe and the world beyond,” he said in a speech Monday.

Opening of global trade “facilitated 70 years of global prosperity, and they have raised the living standards of hundreds of millions of people across the world,” he said.



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