Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson of the United Kingdom in Working Breakfast | Biarritz, France
August 25, 2019
Hotel du Palais
8:21 A.M. CEST
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. We're having a very good meeting – a very good series of meetings. Last night, we had dinner. It worked out. I think it was fantastic.
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: It was fantastic. We covered – well, we covered three subjects, actually. We were going to cover 10 subjects, but in the end, we did three.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Three that we'll talk about.
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: We do three in detail.
Q Mr. President, do you have any advice for Boris Johnson on Brexit?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He needs no advice. He's the right man for the job. I've been saying that for a long time. It didn't make your predecessor very happy. But I've been saying it for a long time: He's the right man for the job.
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: You're on message there. (Laughter.) I'm grateful – I'm very grateful for that. And we're looking forward to having some pretty comprehensive talks about how to take forward the relationship in all sorts of ways, particularly on trade. And we're very excited about that.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We're having very good trade talks between the UK and ourselves. We're going to do a very big trade deal – bigger than we've ever had with the UK.
And now, they won't have it. At some point, they won't have the obstacle of – they won't have the anchor around their ankle, because that's what they had. So, we're going to have some very good trade talks and big numbers.
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: Talking of the anchor – talking of the anchor, Donald, what we want is for our ships to be able to take freight, say, from New York to Boston, which at the moment they can't do. So, we want cabotage. How about that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Many things – many things we're talking about.
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: That would be a good thing.
Q How fast do you think you'll be able to make a trade deal?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Pretty quickly. We don't anticipate any problems. Before, we were sort of stymied. Well, I was stymied by the other side because nothing went – nothing got done on the other side, as you've seen from Brexit. This is a different person, and this is a person that's going to be a great prime minister, in my opinion. Boris, it's only my opinion.
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: No, look, I'm not going to – I'm not going to dissent. I'm not going to discourage you from that, Donald.
But obviously, I have memories of American trade negotiations in the past, and I have a formidable respect for U.S. trade negotiations. And I know that there will be some tough talks ahead, because, at the moment, you know, we still don't – I don't think we sell a single joint of British lamb to the United States. We don't sell any beef. We don't sell any pork pies. And there are clearly huge opportunities for the UK to penetrate the American market in the way that we currently don't. And we're very interested to talk about that with you.
Q Mr. President, do you think that you will invite Putin to next year's G7, sir?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That, I don't know. We did discuss it. We had a very good discussion on Russia and President Putin, and a lively discussion, but, really, a good one. And it's certainly –
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: It was lively.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's certainly possible. It's certainly possible. We'll see.
Q Mr. President, are your allies pressuring you to give up the trade war with China?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. Not at all. I haven't heard that at all, no. I think they respect the trade war. It has to happen. China has been – I can only speak for the United States. I can't say what they've been doing to the UK and to other places. But from the standpoint of the United States, what they've done is outrageous that Presidents and administrations allowed them to get away with taking hundreds of billions of dollars out every year, putting it into China. So, the answer is, nobody has told me that, and nobody would tell me that.
Q Mr. President, any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, sure. Why not?
Q Second thoughts? Yes?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Might as well. Might as well.
Q You have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have second thoughts about everything.
Q Are you going to declare a national emergency on China?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I have the right to, if I want. I could declare a national emergency. I think when they steal and take out, and – intellectual property theft, anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year, and where we have a total loss of almost a trillion dollars a year – for many years, this has been going on – in many ways, that's an emergency.
I have no plan right now. Actually, we're getting along very well with China right now. We're talking. I think they want to make a deal much more than I do. We're getting a lot of money in tariffs. It's coming in by the billions. We never got 10 cents from China. So we'll see what happens. But we are talking to China very seriously.
Q Are you concerned about how the market is reacting to the tariffs?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. The market is doing great. Our country is doing great. Everybody was telling me, yesterday, people are trying to copy the formula. We've cut taxes way down. We got rid of regulations – large numbers – more than any President has gotten rid of. And we're doing very well. Our country is doing fantastically well.
I mean, you people want a recession because you think maybe that's the way to get Trump out. Maybe that's the way we get him out.
But I don't even think that would even work, because, look, if there's anything, it's – you know, we've got to go into trade negotiations to get it right. But, ultimately, it'll be many times what it was before. Our country is doing really well. We have horrible trade deals, and I'm straightening them out. The biggest one, by far, is China.
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: Yeah. Look, I just want to say I congratulate the President on everything that the American economy is achieving. It's fantastic to see that.
But just to register the faint, sheep-like note of our view on the trade war, we're in favor of trade peace on the whole, and dialing it down if we can.
Q Are you in favor of trade peace with China?
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: Well, we think that, on the whole, we're – the UK has profited massively in the last 200 years from free trade, and that's what we want to see. And so we're keen to see – we don't like tariffs on the whole.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: How about the last three years? (Laughs.) Don't talk about the last three. Two-hundred, I agree with you.
Q Prime Minister, have you made clear that, in any trade talks with the U.S., the NHS will be off the table and (inaudible)?
PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: Not only – not only have I made clear that, but Donald, the President, has made that very, very clear as well. And so there's complete unanimity on that point.
Q Mr. President, do you have plans today to announce a trade deal with Japan?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We're very close to a major deal with Japan. As you know, Prime Minister Abe and I are very good friends and – really good friends. We've been working on it for five months. Bob Lighthizer is here someplace. Bob? Do you want to say something about the deal with Japan?
AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER: I'm going to say that, presumably, something will be announced after you meet with the Prime Minister of Japan. That's all I'm going to say.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We're working on a very big deal with Japan, and we're very close to getting it. And, frankly, I think what's happening in China helps with respect to Japan. But it's a very big deal. It'll be one of the biggest deals we've ever made with Japan.
Okay? Thank you all very much.
END 8:28 A.M. CEST
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