U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he’s been told the U.K. will be “first in line” to do a trade deal with the U.S. after meeting President-elect Donald Trump’s advisers.
“We hear that we’re first in line to do a great free-trade deal with the U.S.,” Johnson said in a video statement late Monday. “It’s going to be a very, very exciting year for both our countries.”
The U.K. is seeking to build new ties ahead of its exit from the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump plan to meet in the spring after May sent her two most senior aides on a secret trip to the U.S. in mid-December for talks with members of his team.
Johnson held talks with Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and the president-elect’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on Sunday before meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and a trio of senators—Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Ben Cardin of Maryland in Washington on Monday.
Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was quoted by the BBC as saying the U.K. would “take a front seat.” It would be the U.S.’s 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,” according to the BBC.