Thursday 9 March 2017 3:34 pm

Donald Trump’s Republicans want a trade deal with the UK, and they want one quickly

Mark Sands is City A.M's political reporter.

Mark Sands is City A.M's political reporter.

Follow Mark Sands

Two weeks ago I was in the United States. I met with officials, staff and influential Republican supporters and I can tell you that there is no shortage of enthusiasm for a UK – US trade deal.

The Trump administration may still be settling in, but behind the scenes, his supporters and key figures see a deal with the UK as not just economically important but something they simply want.

There is still huge enthusiasm for working with the UK in America. We may disagree on some things and strongly at times, but overall we still have a lot in common, such as our law, trade, security, freedom and values. As one figure told me, "when we work with the UK and it's business people, we know we can trust them".

Read More: President Donald Trump says he'll negotiate trade deal with the UK himself

And it's not just officials or trade negotiators who want this deal but influential Republican supporters too. The term "special relationship" may seem an old, overused cliche but two weeks ago in the United States it was very real. The enthusiasm at some of the meetings was tremendous.

So when can we hope for a deal? We are of course, still part of the EU and that means we can not enter any trade talks now but we can have informal discussions about our priorities, potential areas of agreement and disagreement and areas we can co-operate on more, meaning that by the time we can leave the EU, things could move very quickly.

I realise there will be difficult issues. The US struggles to understand our passion for our NHS and at times we have disagreed over issues such as data privacy but there is still so much we can agree on.

Read More: Biggest US trade deficit since 2012 fans the flames of Trump's nationalism

Perhaps it won't just be one trade deal but several, tackling the things we agree on first and the more thorny issues in the next round.

There will always be debate amongst politicians, whether British or American but let's not forget that trade happens between people and businesses, not between politicians. If a trade deal makes sense for the people of the UK and the USA then we should get on with it.

The United States is the biggest economy in the world, the greatest power, the most prosperous, our closest ally and greatest friends. The United States remains the land of opportunity. The UK is too.

Outside of the EU we can share those opportunities together, whether you are business person, an employee or someone who just enjoys innovative products in the shops.