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  1. ITV Report

Trump predicts 'tremendous' increase in US-UK trade

US President Donald Trump has said he expects a "tremendous" increase in trade with the UK over the coming years, in a meeting with Theresa May where it was announced he would visit the UK later in 2018.

Speaking as he met Prime Minister Theresa May at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Mr Trump said talks will soon be getting underway.

The looming Brexit date has heightened the importance of the "special relationship" between the two countries, with a transatlantic trade deal a major goal for Mrs May.

"The trade concepts and discussions that will be taking place are going to lead to tremendous increases in trade between our two countries, which is great for both in terms of jobs," the president said.

Shaking on it: Theresa May and Donald Trump spoke about the 'special' relationship between the UK and US. Credit: PA

"We look forward to that and we are starting that process pretty much as we speak," he added.

During the meeting between the two leaders, the pair also asked officials to work on "finalising" a visit by Mr Trump to the UK later in 2018.

The news comes just weeks after the president decided not to visit London for the opening of the new US embassy.

It is thought a visit by the controversial figure is likely to attract protests, and concerns about the level of opposition the president could face are thought to be one of the reasons why it has taken so long for a trip to take place, and potentially one of the reasons why Mr Trump pulled out of the January visit.

The new US Embassy in south London Credit: PA

Mrs May also raised the issue of aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, which has a major plant in Northern Ireland and is at the centre of a US trade dispute, with the American President.

The company is facing an almost 300% duty on its exports of planes to the US after American rival Boeing claimed Bombardier had been given unfair state subsidies by the UK and Canada.

The Canadian-owned Bombardier, which is one of Northern Ireland's largest employees has more than 4,000 members of staff at its Belfast factories and is due to begin delivering an order for up to 125 new jets to Atlanta-based Delta Airlines in 2018.

Mrs May and President Trump also discussed the Middle East and Brexit.

Bombardier could face a 300% duty on its exports of planes to the US. Credit: PA

Mr Trump also told Mrs May "we love your country" after their meeting at the Swiss ski resort in Davos.

The president said he also wanted to correct a "false rumour" of a rift in the so-called "special relationship" after he retweeted videos by far-right group Britain First.

Mr Trump said it was an honour to be with Mrs May, adding: "we've had a great discussion, we're on the same wavelength, in I think, every respect."

He continued that the two countries are "joined at the hip" militarily, and that the US would always be ready to "fight for" the UK.

"The prime minister and myself have a really great relationship though some people don't necessarily believe that, but I can tell you I have a tremendous respect for the prime minister and the job she's doing."

He added: "It was a little bit of a false rumour out there, I just wanted to correct it frankly."

Addressing Mrs May directly, Mr Trump said: "We have great respect for everything you're doing and we love your country, we think it's truly great."

He added: "We're working on transactions in terms of economic development, trade..we are very much joined at the hip when it comes to the military."

Theresa May said she and the president enjoyed 'a great discussion'. Credit: AP

Mrs May said: "We continue to have that really special relationship between the UK and the United States, standing shoulder to shoulder because we're facing the same challenges across the world."

"As you say, we are working together to defeat those challenges and to meet them. And alongside that, working for a good trade relationship in the future which will be to both our benefits.

"So the UK and the US both do well out of this," she added.

The prime minister also said that it had been "great to see" the US president, and that the pair had had a "great discussion" on the prospects for improved trade relations.