Britain Pivots West: May and Trump to Discuss Trade Deal to Reboot Special Relationship

The British Prime Minister Delivers Her Brexit Speech
Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Brit Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump are set to discuss a U.S.-UK trade deal which could see tariffs slashed and could make it easier for workers to move between the two countries when they meet later this week.

The British prime minister is set to be the first world leader to meet with President Trump following his inauguration last Friday – a possible indication that he views renewing the eroded special relationship between their two countries as a priority.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, May confirmed that re-building the special relationship is a British priority also. She said:

What I think is important is that when I sit down with Donald Trump I’m going to be able to talk about how we can build on that special relationship. He’s already said to me that he wants to see a very strong relationship between the UK and the US going into the future. There are issues that we will work together on in the future.

He and people around him have also spoken of the importance of a trade arrangement with the United Kingdom and that is something they are looking to talk to us about at an early stage.

A No 10 official has been quoted as saying: “Trade between both countries is already worth over £150 billion and the US is the single biggest source of inward investment to the UK.”

Whitehall officials are understood to be discussing the possibility of tariffs for goods commonly traded between the two countries to be reduced or even scrapped entirely, while Mrs. May is thought to want to explore ways in which workers can move more easily between the two countries, The Telegraph has reported.

Currently, there are around one million British and American citizens living in each other’s countries. A senior British government source has said: “We can grow those numbers.”

Mr. Trump has already made it clear that he wants to strike an early agreement with Britain as a priority for his administration; however, British officials are said to be holding back in part as Britain has little expertise for striking trade deals having handed the responsibility over to the European Union (EU).

Although no official trade deal between Britain and the U.S. can be forged until Britain has officially left the EU, the talks could mark a pivot in British focus away from the European continent and back towards its historic ally America.

Follow Donna Rachel Edmunds on Twitter: or e-mail to:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.