BRITAIN will struggle to survive outside the EU because it doesn’t have the clout to fend for itself on the world stage, Brussels’ trade chief has said.
Sabine Weyand tore into Tory leadership contenders over their Brexit dream, branding hopes of a new free trading future for the UK an “illusion”.
The German Eurocrat, who was formerly deputy to Michel Barnier, will be responsible for negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal with us.
She said: “Size matters in trade negotiations, so one should not have illusions about what you can do as an individual country in the world of today.”
Speaking at a German Marshall Fund event in Brussels Ms Weyand said whether or not Britain leaves with a deal will be up to the next PM.
She said: “The EU and the UK have a strong interest in finding a new accommodation once the UK has left the EU.
“We will remain aligned on the outlook on the world. The EU and the UK will be partners for a rules based international trading system and we have every interest in getting off to a good start.
“No Deal would not be a good start to building that new relationship but the choice would be the UK’s and we’re ready to engage.”
But her downbeat message was contradicted by the US ambassador to the WTO, who said Donald Trump is ready to strike a “phenomenal” trade deal with Britain as soon as it has left the bloc.
Dennis Shea said there had been a “lot of discussions” between Washington and Westminster and the “groundwork” for an agreement is already in place.
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He said: “President Trump obviously is very eager to have a phenomenal trade agreement with the UK when it exits.
“There’s tremendous political will in the administration as well as in congress to have a US-UK free trade agreement.
“So how that gets worked out we shall see and we shall see when the UK gets out of the EU.”
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