Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

EU/US trade talks ‘in the freezer’

FLAG WAVING: British PM Theresa May and US President Donald Trump last week
FLAG WAVING: British PM Theresa May and US President Donald Trump last week

Sarah Collins

Trade has driven a wedge between the EU and US of late.

British prime minister Theresa May paid a visit to the White House last week where she promoted a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

The UK can't sign any bilateral trade deals until it has left the EU, but she said she and Donald Trump discussed how to “lay the groundwork”.

“I am convinced that a trade deal between the US and UK is in the national interest of both countries, and will cement the crucial relationship that exists between us,” she told reporters in Washington.

Meanwhile, EU-US trade talks are still “firmly in the freezer, at least for a while”, according to the bloc’s trade chief Cecilia Malmström. But, she said, the EU would continue to pursue a free trade agenda.

“The world is bigger than one country,” she said.

“Trump or no Trump, we have a long list of many others willing to deal with the EU.”

One country on that list is Mexico.

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Tensions escalated last week after the White House press secretary suggested taxing Mexican imports to pay for an anti-immigrant wall at its US border.

Romanian MEP Renate Weber said the spat could have political implications for the EU’s trade talks with Mexico.

“The message that the EU should send to Mexican citizens is that they are not alone and that they can count on us,” she said.

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