DONALD Trump told Theresa May he wants a “big and ambitious” free trade deal with us after Brexit, No 10 claimed last night.
The pair held 30-minute talks in New York on their “mutual desire for a wide-ranging trade deal”, a spokesman said.
He added: “They agreed Brexit provides a wonderful opportunity.”
President Trump had revealed before they met at the UN General Assembly: “We’re talking about a lot of different things — trade, military, security, protection, all sorts.”
And he assured the PM: “It’s great to have you as a friend.”
Mrs May had earlier been upbeat on chances of a deal. She said Mr Trump’s offer could be trusted after he backed her by cracking down on Russia over the Salisbury poison scandal.
The PM said: “When it happened I talked to him about the action we hoped the US would take.
“He said they would take that action and they did exactly that.
“He and America want a good trade deal with us. I believe that when we have negotiated that deal it will be put in place.”
But Washington officials have told Whitehall that Britain must first scrap EU red tape.
That suggests the president’s backing for a deal hinges on the PM ditching her Chequers plans for a looser agreement. A US official said: “We’re encouraging them to make sure that any deal with the EU preserves space on regulations and things like that.”
And American corporate chiefs voiced fears over a No Deal Brexit.
Steve Schwarzman of equity giant Blackstone told Mrs May his firm were “believers” in Britain.
But he added: “On the other side, things could go off with a bad Brexit and change of Government.
“The thing we worry about is, ‘How bad can things get?’”
Meanwhile, Mr Trump accused China of trying to meddle in US elections to stop his tariffs. He told the UN: “They don’t want me to win because I’m the first president to challenge China on trade.”