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Donald Trump causes confusion as to whether NHS will be 'on the table' in trade deal talks

Published on 06/06/19 at 10:09am

President Donald Trump has caused confusion as to whether or not the NHS will ‘be on the table’ in post-Brexit trade deal negotiations with the United States.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Trump said: “Look I think everything with a trade deal is on the table. When you’re dealing with trade everything is on the table, so NHS, or anything else, or a lot more than that. Everything will be on the table, absolutely.”

However later in the day Trump said in an interview with ITV: “Somebody asked me a question today, and I say, ‘Everything’s up for negotiation’ because everything is, but I don’t see that being – that’s something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade.”

The statements come after documents on the US negotiating position revealed that the US was seeking “full market access” for American pharmaceutical companies and “non-discriminatory treatment with respect to the purchase and sale of goods and services” from state bodies in the UK.

Trumps comments follow US ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson's suggestion that Britain’s healthcare system would be ‘on the table’ in negotiations between Britain and the United States.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted “My American friends, know this: The NHS is not for sale. Yes we’d love to make it cheaper to buy your life-saving pharmaceuticals - but the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade talks,” in response.

Later in response to Trump Hancock tweeted: “Dear Mr President. The NHS isn’t on the table in trade talks - and never will be. Not on my watch.”

Meanwhile Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Theresa May stood next to @realDonaldTrump as he said the NHS will be "on the table" in a US trade deal. And that’s what Tory leadership contenders and Farage are lining up for the No Deal disaster capitalism plans they have. They all need to understand: our NHS is not for sale.”

Louis Goss

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