Theresa May welcomes Donald Tusk to Downing Street
The Prime Minister claimed it “will be possible” to simply cut and paste deals with countries such as South Korea, Mexico and Jordan.
EU Council chief Donald Tusk left the status of existing trade deals out of his blueprint guidelines for Brexit negotiations when he unveiled them last week.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox holds talks in Indonesia
Exciting, challenging but crucially, serious and important for the future
Theresa MayThe Prime Minister claimed it “will be possible” to simply cut and paste deals with count
But Brussels hardliners are understood to be fiercely opposed to the UK “piggybacking” on existing trade agreements.
Mrs May stressed she wanted the best Brexit deal with the EU and said she believed it would be a “good idea for the rest of the European Union”.
When asked to sum up the task ahead, Mrs May said: “Exciting, challenging but crucially, serious and important for the future.”
Theresa May meets Jordan's King Abdullah II
But she triggered a backlash by appearing to suggest it could take longer than the two years of divorce talks to finalise a new free trade deal with the EU.
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She told Sky News: “Lets look at the whole question of where we end up. At the end of this negotiation, will we have looked at both withdrawal and the future relationship?
MEPs inisist Britain agrees divorce terms before striking a new trade deal Brexit debate in pictures: Farage blasted by EU boss Wed, April 5, 2017
The debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg will focus on key issues of the Brexit talks including reciprocal rights for EU citizens, the peace process in Northern Ireland and trade
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Nigel Farage gestures during speeches at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France
“That’s what’s important. That’s what I’m asking for and that’s what I believe increasingly we will see.”
Shadow Brexit Minister Paul Blomfield said: “It is less than a week since the Prime Minister triggered Article 50 – and it seems every day brings another broken promise from the Government.”