Brexit gives EU-US trade deal added importance, Kerry says

31 January 2017 9:55am

18 July 2016. By Lewis Crofts.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU will boost the importance of the bloc’s struggling trans-Atlantic trade deal with the US in countering any negative fallout from Brexit, US Secretary of State John Kerry said today.

Kerry was addressing journalists after a meeting with the foreign ministers of EU countries in Brussels.

The meeting was also the first chance for Boris Johnson, the UK’s new foreign minister, to meet his European counterparts who will be involved in negotiations over his country’s exit from the union.

Officials from the EU and US have been negotiating a trans-Atlantic trade deal since 2013. It commonly goes by the acronym TTIP.

But the deal has run into political difficulties with some countries fearful that the agreement might lead to lower consumer-protection standards, harm to the environment and unfair procedures for handling disputes.

Kerry rejected claims the talks were in trouble, saying there was a “shared goal” to complete the talks this year.

He said that in the wake of the Brexit vote, “TTIP actually becomes more important.”

“When you are talking about a very significant marketplace between the US and Europe, that has a very significant ability to act as a counter to whatever negatives” might result from Brexit, Kerry said.

Johnson told the meeting that the UK would “remain a critical, vital, strong component of the European relationship, and of the US’s relationship with Europe,” Kerry said.

“There is obviously some uncertainty out there,” Kerry said, in reference to the UK’s new government, but he said all sides were dedicated to the “smoothest possible transition” post-Brexit.

Kerry called for the “highest levels of integration and collaboration” between all sides in negotiating the UK’s departure from the bloc.

Brexit Special Report