Brexit creates uncertainty over the fate of EU trade deals such as the TTIP with the US

Brexit creates uncertainty over the fate of EU trade deals such as the TTIP with the US

Brexit creates deep uncertainty over the fate of EU trade deals that are pending ratification, such as the deal with Canada, and those under discussion, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, with the US.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman has said the US still values the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the EU, despite the referendum vote by the UK – the EU's second largest economy – to leave the bloc.

"The importance of trade and investment is indisputable in our relationships with both the European Union and the United Kingdom. The economic and strategic rationale for TTIP remains strong," Froman said.

Froman added the US was "evaluating the impact of the United Kingdom's decision on TTIP" and looked forward to continuing its "engagement with the European Union and our relations with the United Kingdom."

Asked whether a TTIP deal would temporarily include the UK if the agreement was struck before the country left the EU, a trade spokesperson at the European Commission said: "All these questions will be looked into in due course."

The US and EU are preparing for the 14th round of TTIP negotiations, which are due to start during July in Brussels.

Other EU officials have said they wanted to agree consolidated texts at that meeting, which highlighted the final sticking points regarding regulatory cooperation.

The goal is to give negotiators the change of striking a final deal before US President Barack Obama leaves office next January, but it is not known whether the UK referendum vote to quit the EU will slow that progress.

A pledge by the EU to prioritise free trade talks with the US and other countries, made within the European Council's February offer of special treatment for the UK – the deal secured by Prime Minister David Cameron – now does not stand.

Should the UK go ahead with its plans to leave the EU, any TTIP deal agreed would cease to apply to the UK within two years of the country invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the formal procedure for quitting the bloc. 

Other EU trade deals

Another quandary would be the fate of EU trade deals of which the UK is already a part – such as the free trade agreement with South Korea.

There is also uncertainty over those trade deals that are pending ratification – such as the deal with Canada.

The Canadian deal would have to be renegotiated as regards the UK, a process that may be slower than with the rest of the EU – giving continental manufacturers better access to the Canada market.

The US has already said the UK would be at the back of the queue for a trade deal with Washington, long after TTIP is concluded with the rest of the EU.

And previously approved deals such as with South Korea would cease to apply after the UK's two-year cooling-off period, unless Seoul agrees continued market access. They may want to renegotiate with the UK and could wait until London loses its access to the South Korean market through the EU deal.