Trump and May discuss plan for big and ambitious trade deal

NEW YORK — U.S. President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May discussed their “mutual desire to form a wide-ranging trade deal” on Wednesday, No. 10 Downing Street said.

The two leaders agreed Brexit provides a “wonderful opportunity to strike a big and ambitious U.K.-U.S. Free Trade Agreement,” a spokesman for May said after the bilateral meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

A White House readout of the meeting, however, did not explicitly mention the potential trade deal.

“Both leaders discussed a variety of global challenges, including the situation in Syria and countering threats posed by Iran and Russia. President Trump and Prime Minister May reaffirmed their commitment to closely coordinate on efforts to address these and other global challenges,” the White House said.

The meeting with Trump comes as May faces increasing pressure from Brexiteers in her party to drop her Brexit plan, which would keep the U.K. aligned under a common rule book with the European Union in select areas such as agriculture. Some Tory MPs opposed to the plan claim it could inhibit the U.K.s freedom to strike independent trade agreements with other countries.

While both leaders have been clear they want to strike a new trade deal after Britain leaves the EU, officials in Washington last week said they are encouraging the U.K. to find a deal with the EU that “preserves enough space on regulations.”

May said earlier this week that Britain should trust Trump when he says he wants a post-Brexit trade deal because of his record of taking action against Russia after the poisoning of a former spy in the English town of Salisbury.

“When Salisbury happened I talked to President Trump about the actions we hoped the Americans would take. He said theyd take that action and they did exactly that,” she said.

“In relation to a trade deal in the future, I would say that President Trump and America want to do a good trade deal with us. Its in both our interests to do that good trade deal, and I believe that when we have negotiated that deal, it will indeed be put in place. Thats what coming to an agreement on a trade deal is about — both sides agree and both sides do it.”

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