Trump 'worried about Brexit impact on US jobs'

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Donald Trump is said to have told European Union leaders he is worried Americans may lose jobs as a result of Britain leaving the EU, in what would amount to an extraordinary U-turn by the US president. reports citing the Guardian.

An EU source said Trump spoke of the risks to the global economy posed by Brexit during a 45-minute meeting in Brussels with Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, presidents of the European council and European commission respectively.

“Russia, Ukraine and Brexit were covered during the tête-à-tête”, the EU source said. “On Brexit, US expressed concern that jobs in the US would be lost because of Brexit.”

Further details of Trump’s comments were not immediately available but the claim raises questions about whether he still believes the UK made the right decision in the EU referendum last June.

The president was a cheerleader for Brexit, describing June’s voteas a “beautiful, beautiful thing”. After meeting Theresa May at the White House earlier this year, he claimed Brexit would be a “wonderful thing” for Britain.

He also suggested in the past that other countries might follow Britain out of the 28-nation bloc, although in recent weeks he has publicly revised that view, claiming the EU has been doing a “better job” of late.

Those who campaigned for Brexit took succour from Trump’s consistent claims that he would reward the UK’s decision to leave the EU with a swift free trade deal.

EU officials, however, believe that since taking office he has come to a greater appreciation of the value of European integration to the US, whose business leaders have generally supported the way single market rules offer efficiencies for exporters.

It was even claimed by unnamed US officials recently that Britain had been pushed behind the EU in the queue to strike a free trade deal.

During a private conversation last month, Angela Merkel is said to have convinced Trump that talks on a US-EU deal would be easier and more beneficial than he thought.

It was reported that Trump had asked the German chancellor 10 times if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany. Every time Merkel reportedly replied: “You can’t do a trade deal with Germany, only the EU.”

“On the 11th refusal, Trump finally got the message: ‘Oh, we’ll do a deal with Europe then,’” an unnamed German politician was quoted as saying.

This suggests the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal between the EU and US, shelved after Trump’s election victory, could be revived.

Such a development would be embarrassing to high-profile Brexiters. The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, claimed after meeting the president’s advisers in January, that Britain would be “first in line” for a deal and scorned the view of the former president Barack Obama that the UK would be at the back of the queue.

2017.05.25 / 18:59
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