Exclusive Exclusive: Chief U.S. Trade Negotiator Says Britain Would Be Low Priority After Brexit

U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman warned in an interview that Britain should not expect to get a quick free-trade agreement with the United States if it leaves the European Union. The chief U.S. trade negotiator said Britain had a “stronger voice” inside the European Union. The United States was currently “not in the market” for bilateral free-trade deals, he said, adding that no free-trade agreement would mean import tariffs for goods would be set at the same level as for countries like China, India and Brazil. The United States is instead focused on multilateral pacts like the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific trade deals, Mr. Froman said. He remained hopeful that a U.S.-E.U. free-trade agreement could reached by the end of this year, but added “not at any cost” and rejected a “TTIP Lite” version of the deal. “We think it’s exactly the right time to finish TTIP because we want global trade to be as strong as it can,” he said, adding: “If we don’t get it done, then we create a great deal of uncertainty on whether we will ever get it done.” Mr. Froman criticized the public debate over trade in the last few months, arguing that free-trade deals are being unfairly blamed for broader questions about things like globalization and the spread of technology. “Trade agreements have become a scapegoat, where people put on their concerns regardless of the cause,” he said. Mr. Froman said multilateral deals were the U.S. priority: “Currently we are not in the market for individual FTAs. We have been approaching our trade strategy building platforms like TPP and TTIP.”   Read the full interview in Friday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 CET. Picture Source: Reuters