‘Trade war with US the first of many for UK post-Brexit’, Leo
BRITAIN will find itself in more trade wars with the United States when it leaves the EU, the Taoiseach said in Estonia yesterday, warning that the Bombardier row was only the start.
The US has slapped huge tariffs on aircraft wings made in Belfast by the Canadian company after a complaint by Boeing. Over a thousand jobs in Northern Ireland depend on Bombardier operations.
‘I think it may well turn out to be a lesson for the United Kingdom,’ said the Taoiseach when asked about the feud, which has led to condemnation and a threat of retaliation from Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.
‘When the Brexit referendum went through, and certainly in the months since then, there has been a lot of talk about the UK being able to conclude separate trade agreements,’ Mr Varadkar said.
‘Now we are talking about a trade war between the United States and the United Kingdom. What I think it demonstrates is that every country in Europe is a small country – the United Kingdom isn’t even in the top 20 countries in the world in terms of population, and Germany is eighteenth.
‘We are actually stronger together, and that is something they need to consider. It is a hint of what Britain might face outside the European Union,’ he told RTÉ Europe correspondent Tony Connelly.
However, Mr Varadkar said that on the wider question of Brexit that there was now ‘a better vibe in negotiations’ following British prime minister Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week.
But he said that a lot of work remained to be done and that not enough progress has been made by Britain on the outstanding questions from phase one of talks.
‘It’s still very evident that there’s more work to be done. We’re not yet at the stage where we can say that sufficient progress has been made to allow us to talk about the new relationship and trade,’ he said.
‘I don’t think we’ll be able to make that call until much later in the month,’ he added.
Mr Varadkar has said there is a better mood and better ‘vibe’ coming out of the Brexit negotiations, but it was still ‘very evident’ that a lot more work had to be done.
The Taoiseach was speaking as he attended an informal summit of European Union leaders in the Estonian capital Tallinn.
Asked by Sky News yesterday about EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker’s view that ‘it would take a miracle’ for the United Kingdom to progress to the second round of Brexit talks, Mr Varadkar commented: ‘In politics sometimes miracles do happen.’
‘We are actually stronger together’
Warning: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar