LONDON Jan 10 Britain will be in the "front
seat" to negotiate a new trade deal with the incoming
administration of Donald Trump, a top Republican in the United
States Senate said, the BBC reported.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said
after meeting British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that a
trade deal between the two countries would be a priority as
Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
Ahead of the Brexit vote, President Barack Obama exhorted
Britons to stay in the EU and warned that if they left they
would be at "the back of the queue" for a U.S. trade deal.
Corker said Johnson knows "full well" that "there is no way
the United Kingdom is going to take a back seat".
"They will take a front seat and I think it will be our
priority to make sure that we deal with them on a trade
agreement initially but in all respects in a way that
demonstrates the long-term friendship that we've had for so
long," Corker was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Trump, while a candidate for the U.S. presidency, hailed
Brexit as a "great thing" when visiting Scotland the day after
the vote though Britain cannot sign a trade deal until it leaves
the EU which under current plans will likely be in 2019.
After visits to see aides in Trump Tower in New York and
meet members of Congress in Washington, Johnson said: "Clearly,
the Trump administration-to-be has a very exciting agenda of
change. One thing that won't change, though, is the closeness of
the relationship between the US and the UK.
"We are America's principal partner in working for global
security and, of course, we are great campaigners for free
trade," Johnson was quoted as saying by the Guardian newspaper.
"We hear that we are first in line to do a great free trade
deal with the United States. So, it's going to be a very
exciting year for both our countries," Johnson said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)