Belfast Telegraph

Trade accord with Japan proof EU a global force: Tusk

By Staff Reporter

European Council president Donald Tusk has hit out at Brexit backers who claimed that the European Union was unable to strike trade deals. Mr Tusk said a new trade agreement between the EU and Japan showed their position was wrong as he warned against “isolationism and disintegration”.

At a Press conference in Brussels he said: “In the context of the discussion about Brexit, we have heard statements claiming that it isn’t worth being in the European Union, as it is easier to do global trade outside of the EU.

“Today we have shown that this is not true.”

He said the EU was “more and more engaged globally”, with trade negotiations ongoing with the South American Mercosur bloc, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia.

Mr Tusk said: “Although some are saying that the time of isolationism and disintegration is coming again, we are demonstrating that this is not the case.

“The world really doesn’t need to go a hundred years back in time. Quite the opposite. It doesn’t have to be so.”

Downing Street welcomed the EU-Japan trade deal, which it said could provide “a starting point” for Britain to negotiate its own deal with the far eastern country after its withdrawal from the EU.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: “The UK has been one of the strongest supporters of this free trade agreement, and we encourage both sides to maintain this level of momentum.”

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