Teresa May’s hopes of striking a trade deal with the incoming Donald Trump administration have been given a boost after a leading adviser to the president-elect said a new accord could be achieved within six to 12 months.
Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier and member of Trump’s transition team, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Barack Obama’s successor would seek a swift and mutually beneficial agreement.
Interviewed by ITV News, Scaramucci – who has sold his hedge fund so that he can take up a job in the White House – said the US would be hoping to finalise talks within the “first six months or the first year of the administration”.
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Scaramucci said Trump took a different view to a trade deal with Britain to Obama, who said during the EU referendum campaign last year that the UK would go to the “back of the queue”.
No single country takes a bigger share of UK exports than the US, and Scaramucci said Trump would “take the steps necessary to make sure the UK is at the front of the line as opposed to the back of the line, on trade deals”.
Later, at a briefing with journalists following May’s Brexit speech, Scaramucci said he was convinced the UK would flourish outside the EU.
“There are two countries I would not bet against – the US and the UK,” Trump’s aide said. He added that London had been Europe’s financial capital for 500 years before the creation of the EU and would continue in that role post-Brexit.
“After the referendum I had conversations with customers who said it was going to be a disaster for Britain and the stock market would crash,” Scaramucci said. “We know now that the opposite has happened.”
Trump’s weekend observations about the probability of other countries following Britain and leaving the EU were badly received in Brussels and other European capitals.
Scaramucci said the president-elect was making a political observation about the remoteness of policymaking in Europe in the context of the Brexit vote.
“There is a large group of disenchanted people in pluralistic democracies who feel like they have been left out,” he said.
“I understand why the EU was created. It has been a success because it has kept the peace. But you have a group of people, legislators and bureaucrats, making decisions that have an impact on Manchester, Milan or Rome and they may not understand the local markets they are making decisions for.”