/Trump U-turns, says U.K.’s National Health Service not on table in trade talks

Trump U-turns, says U.K.’s National Health Service not on table in trade talks

‘I don’t see it being on the table,’ Trump said, referring to the NHS | David Rose/WPA Pool via Getty Images

‘When you’re dealing in trade everything’s on the table, so NHS or anything else,’ US president said Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump walked back his claim that everything including the National Health Service would be on the table in a future trade deal with the U.K.

In a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, Trump said: “When you’re dealing in trade everything’s on the table, so NHS or anything else … everything will be on the table, absolutely.”

But in an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain program, which screened Wednesday morning but was filmed shortly after the May-Trump press conference Tuesday, Trump walked back those comments.

“I don’t see it being on the table,” Trump said, referring to the NHS. “Somebody asked me a question and I say ‘everything’s up for negotiation’ because everything is — but that’s something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade.”

Trump’s comments came after U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. Woody Johnson said last week that a post-Brexit trade deal would require giving the U.S. access to the U.K.’s health sector.

The U.S. has set its sights on Britain’s “reimbursement regime” to ensure “full market access” for American pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Washington also wants to ensure “non-discriminatory” treatment for U.S. companies providing goods and services to British state-owned companies, according to the pact’s negotiating objectives.

Johnson and Trump’s comments prompted a strong reaction from the U.K. health secretary, foreign secretary, other politicians and numerous health care organizations, who came out in defense of Britain’s social health care system and the need to protect it from U.S. privatization.

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