Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

French ambassador to US says UK will suffer in post-Brexit trade deal

The envoy made his parting comments on the eve of his retirement from diplomacy

US President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May shake hands in July 2018. AFP
US President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May shake hands in July 2018. AFP

France’s departing ambassador to the United States has launched a scathing attack on the Trump administration’s protectionist policies, describing the American president as “whimsical, unpredictable, uninformed”.

Gérard Araud, who retires from a 37-year diplomatic career on Friday, said Britain will struggle to strike a favourable trade deal with the US after Brexit. He argued that the British government will have to accept lower standards, giving as an example food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“They [the Trump administration] are not thinking in terms of multilateral cooperation first. And secondly, they don’t have any affection towards the Europeans. They treat Europeans the way they treat the Chinese,” Mr Araud told British newspaper The Guardian in his parting comments.

“And when the British come for a free-trade agreement, there will be blood on the walls and it will be British blood. It will be GMOs breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Meanwhile a US congressman warned that if the Brexit negotiations do not uphold the Good Friday Agreement, the fallout could hamper any future US trade agreement with the European Union.

Brussels has said it wants to reach a trade deal with the US before the end of the year.

“If America wants a trade agreement with the European Union, which I think is very desirable – I want it – at the same time you are back to the same issue on the border if you do anything that dampens or softens the Good Friday Agreement,” Democratic Congressman Richard Neal told the Irish Times on Friday.

Mr Neal made the comments during a visit to Ireland with US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Ms Pelosi has said the US will not commit to any trade deal with Britain if the peace agreement in Northern Ireland is compromised by Brexit.

The issue of the border in Ireland has been a key sticking point in the Brexit negotiations. Both sides agree that any deal must keep the border open to protect the 1998 accord, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian violence.

Updated: April 19, 2019 05:39 PM

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