Trump official admits US is prioritising EU over UK for trade deal

PUBLISHED: 13:47 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:47 11 February 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

2020 Getty Images

Despite promises that the UK would be next in line for trade talks, Trump officials could end up entering fresh talks with the EU instead.

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The White House's economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said that because there is "some structure" to talks with the European Union, "reigniting that will be easier" than starting the whole process with the UK.

As a new team are in office at the European Commission officials have now agreed to reset relations between the US and EU, with both sides keen to avoid a transatlantic tariff battle.

"No one around here is salivating for a trade war," Bloomberg quotes Kudlow as saying. "Believe me, no one."

Recent reports suggested that Boris Johnson's decision over Huawei and their involvement in the 5G infrastructure in the UK is likely to have caused a setback with post-Brexit talks.

The Financial Times reports that Trump vented "apoplectic" fury at Boris Johnson in a tense phone call following the decision.

Kudlow said both the UK and US are "in the preliminary stages of preliminary talks" for a trade deal.

He added: "We are all interested in doing something. But there's no structure to it yet".

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The adviser said that meetings between EU Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen and Donald Trump are some way off yet, and won't happen "until we have meats on the bones" but both sides are trying to come up with a positive transatlantic agreement to avoid duties on goods.

"We have a certain stability in the tariff and trade story right now and it's very constructive and we'd like to keep it that way," he said. "So we will just give it our best efforts."

In 2016 Barack Obama claimed that the UK would go to the "back of the queue" for trade talks, something that prompted much criticism from Brexiteers.

Last August the then US national security advisor John Bolton told reporters that "in the Trump administration, Britain's constantly at the front of the trade queue, or line as we say."

A month later he was told on Twitter by the president that his "services are no longer needed".

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