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10 Downing Street awaits Trump administration

Reporter: Richard Bestic 丨 CCTV.com

11-18-2016 11:13 BJT

Britain's post-Brexit government is paying close attention to developments in the U.S. as the rest of the world adjusts to possible changes a Trump presidency will bring. Once the U.K. leaves the European Union, the country will be free to set up its own bilateral trade deals. As CCTV’s Richard Bestic reports from London, the government there hopes its relations with the United States -- a major trading partner -- will help the U.K.

In the days of U.S. election campaigning, the British Parliament’s relationship with then-candidate Donald Trump was stormy. He famously called for a U.S. ban on Muslims. "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."

In response, a U.K. Parliamentary held a debate -- and a petition signed by nearly half a million people demanded Trump be banned from Britain.

However, according to the country’s influential Institute of Directors, the reality of a president Trump means trade will be a more considered affair.

Head of trade policy of institute of directors, Allie Renison, said, "People are now are trying to within government think about how potentially they can perhaps mitigate some of the things that Trump had said that he would do, to make that special relationship a bit easier, because at the end of the day, the U.K. wants to work with the U.S."

Certainly attitudes here have changed.

U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, no longer mocking, declared "in trade we trust. "Donald Trump is a dealmaker. I think that could be a good thing for Britain."

And speaking this week to leaders of the U.K. financial district, the City of London, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said in a world of change, Britain must adapt.

"We will use the freedoms that come from negotiating with partners directly, to be flexible, to set our own rules to forge new and dynamic trading agreements."

The U.K. may have a secret weapon in its bid to build a special trade relationship with Trump’s America.

One of the U.K. leading voices for Brexit, right-wing politician Nigel Farage was the first from Britain to personally congratulate Trump on his victory.

However, the realities of Brexit remain a potential stumbling block.

"Even if for example President-elect Trump decided he wanted to prioritize the UK in terms of a trade deal for the U.S., it would be some time before they could actually get to the substantive red meat of the negotiations because so much of what they would be talking about depends on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations,"Allie Renison said.

"The harsh words of campaign rhetoric may indeed have been replaced by something milder, but that doesn’t mean dealing with a Trump administration will be plain sailing for Britain’s trade negotiators – particularly when you mix in the complexities of Brexit," Richard Bestic said.

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