U.K. Prime Minister May Plans U.S. Trip to Meet Trump on Friday

  • President’s aides confirm ‘very shortly’ means Friday
  • May could become first foreign leader to meet new president

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will visit the U.S. on Friday, becoming the first foreign leader to visit President Donald Trump since his election, aides said.

Trump said during a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency on Saturday that May would visit “very shortly,” and two aides later said a meeting is set for Friday. Newspapers in the U.K. reported they’ll discuss maintaining European unity and a U.K.-U.S. trade deal.

May told the Financial Times she expects “very frank” talks with the new U.S. president and will stress her desire for a strong Europe and for continued co-operation between Britain and its continental partners on issues such as defense and security.

Her comments follow remarks by Trump this month that the European Union is an instrument of German domination designed to beat the U.S. in international trade, and that he’s fairly indifferent to whether the bloc stays together. Trump has said leaving the 28-nation EU, a decision taken by U.K. voters in a June referendum, will be good for Britain and that he’ll offer the nation a quick and “fair” trade deal.

May also said she’s sure Trump “recognizes the importance and significance of NATO,” according to the FT. In an interview with the German newspaper Bild before his inauguration, Trump said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is obsolete and urged more nations to pay their fair share toward the alliance’s costs.

May told the FT she hopes to discuss a trade deal with Trump and would consider removing some barriers to the free movement of goods and services. The U.K., which plans to start two years of negotiations to leave the EU by the end of March, can’t strike new trade accords until it has left or at least left the bloc’s customs union.

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