‘Trade war with US the first of many for UK post-Brexit’, Leo

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Se­nan Molony Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor se­nan.molony@dai­ly­mail.ie

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

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