Prime Minister Theresa May has dismissed President Donald Trump’s claim that her Brexit deal will make a trade agreement with the UK more unlikely.
She told an audience in Wales that the country would be able to agree new deals after leaving the EU – and that trade talks were progressing with American officials.
But her Brexit agreement may not even make it through her own Parliament, as MPs on all sides are expected to vote against it when it comes before them on December 11.
President Trump’s intervention will offer ammunition to those who want to kill the deal, including as many as 90 rebel Tory MPs.
But Mrs May insisted that a deal could be negotiated with the United States under the terms of her exit agreement when the UK leaves the EU on March 29 next year.
She said: “We will have the ability outside the EU to make those decisions on trade policy for ourselves. It will no longer be a decision being taken by Brussels.
“As regards the United States, we’ve already been talking to them about the sort of agreement we could have with them in the future.”
President Trump said on Monday that the Brexit agreement ‘sounds like a great deal for the EU’ and added: “If you look at the deal they may not be able to trade with us.
“I don’t think the Prime Minister meant that. Hopefully, she’ll be able to do something about that.”
Trump criticised Mrs May’s negotiating skills during a previous visit to the UK and she revealed afterwards that he advised her to ‘sue the EU.’
Concerns have already been raised about the terms that the UK will be required to meet to secure any new trade deal with the U.S.
Opponents fear that food and environmental standards will have to be lowered to below those currently set by the EU.
They claim this would lead to chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef imports flooding the UK market, damaging the domestic farming industry.
However, a spokesman for Mrs May said Parliament would ‘have a say’ on any future trade deals that are struck.
He added that it was made clear in the political declaration that was part of the exit deal that the UK could seek new agreements on trade during the transition period.
Any deal could be negotiated during this period, due to end in December 2021, but it could not take effect until after that date.
The spokesman said there were ‘no plans’ for Mrs May and Trump to meet privately at this weekend’s G20 summit in Argentina.