EU Can't Prevent US, UK Trade Talks: Chief Negotiator

EU can't prevent US, UK trade talks: chief negotiator

OSLO, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 25th Jan, 2017 ) : Britain is free to discuss its future trade relationship with the United States but remains bound by EU trade policy as long as it is a member of the bloc, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator said Wednesday. British Prime Minister Theresa May is to travel to the United States to sketch the outlines of a future trade relationship between the two countries. On Friday, May will meet US President Donald Trump and both hope to quickly conclude a trade deal between London and Washington.

This will be Trump's first meeting with a foreign leader. "What could prevent countries from talking?" Michel Barnier said when asked about Britain's ability to open discussions on the subject even before leaving the EU. But "as long as a country is a member of the Union, it is part of the EU's trade policy," he told a news conference in Oslo. Norway is not a member of the EU but it has close ties to the bloc through the framework of the European Economic Area (EEA).

The Nordic nation itself is seeking clarity over its future trade relations with Britain once it leaves the bloc. May vowed to activate "before the end of March" Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which would launch negotiations with the other EU member states on Britain's exit. Pending completion of this process, which is expected to last two years, Britain remains a full member of the EU, but the extent to which it can engage in trade talks raises questions. The head of the British government has already laid the groundwork for future negotiations with India, Australia and New Zealand.