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Brussels ‘POWERLESS’ to stop UK-US deal – and trade talks could spell disaster for EU

BRITAIN is to start informal talks with the US over a post-Brexit trade deal on Monday – and experts believe this could spell huge trouble for the Brussels bloc.

Liam Fox, the secretary for international trade, is to meet with his US counterparts next week to begin negotiations on post-Brexit trade between the two countries.Mr Fox, who is tasked with shaping Britain’s free-trade future outside of the EU, will meet US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington, much to the anger of the EU elites.

Although Jean-Claude Juncker has warned against any trade talks before Brexit is finalised, legal experts said that the EU Commission is “virtually powerless” to stop them.

Speaking to BBC’s Today programme, Cambridge professor Catherine Barnard said that it is “extremely unlikely” that Mr Juncker will punish Britain for talks with the US.

However, Radio 4 host John Humphrys then suggested that this could prompt other EU countries to start their own trade talks, and over time unravel the European project.

JunckerGETTY              Jean-Claude Juncker has warned against any trade talks before Brexit is finalised


Mrs Barnard said this “might happen” but she emphasised that Britain would be more likely than other countries to be “let off the hook” because of Brexit.This comes after City University professor David Collins said yesterday that “there is nothing in the EU treaties that ban us from negotiating free trade deals”.

Mrs Barnard echoed this sentiment and dismissed scaremongering from the EU Commission.

She said: “Under EU law, there is a duty of loyal cooperation, where states must cooperate with the EU and not undermine tasks of the EU including the exclusive competence to do trade deals.

“We have said we will respect EU law until we leave the bloc. So these talks risk violating this duty through talking about trade deals.”

But the Cambridge professor added: “The EU Commission has the powers of enforcement. But they are discretionary.

“And it may take the view that in the politicised, they may not challenge the UK for trade deals.”

Liam FoxGETTY                          Liam Fox, the secretary for international trade, is set to meet with his US counterparts on Monday


USGETTY               Talks with the US have angered Juncker but he is ‘powerless’ to stop them


Will others not get the same idea? Could this not spell trouble for Brussels?

John Humphrys

Humphrys interjected: “But if they allow it to happen, will others not get the same idea? Could this not spell trouble for Brussels?”Mrs Barnard: “They might. But we are in a unique position because of Brexit.”

Speaking to reporters, Mr Fox said that Britain will not conclude any trade talks, but will begin to scope out future economic relations.

His US counterpart, Mr Ross, said that “from the US side, we’ve made it clear that we are prepared to begin as soon as the UK is ready”.

However, Mrs Barnard also warned although the EU may allow the US trade talks to go ahead, this will not be allowed for Australia and New Zealand, where the European bloc want to deal before Britain gets a chance to.

She added that the EU is already trying to bully Australia and New Zealand against talking to Liam Fox’s trade team about a deal.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/831708/European-Union-Britain-US-Brexit-Liam-Fox

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