Post-Brexit UK-US trade deal could take a decade, Obama tells BBC
LONDON – A trade deal between Britain and the United States could take five to 10 years to negotiate if Britain votes to leave the European Union in a June 23 referendum, US President Barack Obama told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
Obama, who is in the final nine months of his presidency, has spent the last three days in London urging Britons to stay in the EU as the British public prepares to vote on whether to remain a member of the bloc.
“It could be five years from now, 10 years from now before we’re actually able to get something done,” Obama told the British broadcaster, adding to his earlier warning that Britain would find itself at ‘the back of the queue’ for a new trade deal with the United States if it left the EU.
Obama’s visit and decision to intervene in the EU debate has angered the Eurosceptic “Out” campaign, which has repeatedly argued that Britain could easily negotiate deals and get better terms outside the EU.
Answering that criticism, Obama said that his involvement had been justified because of the two countries’ special relationship, and that he hoped he had been able to persuade some British voters.
“My hope is, is that this is something that would have some influence on how voters think,” he said.
Obama added that Britain would not get preferential treatment over the EU when it came to negotiating a new trade deal. -Reuters