UK now front of the queue for deal with the US, as trade deal with EU dubbed a failure by key German minister

Hayley Kirton
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USA looking a-ok for trade deals with the UK (Source: Getty)

The EU's loss is the UK's gain for trade deals, as the country now finds itself first in line for a transatlantic hookup, one expert has said.

The comments come after Germany's economy minister and vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said over the weekend that talks to forge a trade deal between the US and the EU – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – had all but collapsed.

"The negotiations with the United States have de facto failed although nobody really admits to it," he said, pointing out that, despite 14 rounds of negotiations, not a single joint statement had materialised.

Assessing what the situation meant for the UK, Dr Madsen Pirie, president of the Adam Smith Institute, said: "It is obviously easier for one country to negotiate a trade deal than it is for 27 and, far from being at the back of the queue, the UK now moves to the front of the queue in reaching a trade deal with the US."

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Meanwhile, Ben Digby, Confederation of British Industry international director, remarked:

As government negotiates our exit from the EU, a clear strategy will be needed to boost trade with partners, old and new, across the globe. Markets should be carefully prioritised, in consultation with business, to lay the foundations for deep and comprehensive future trade and investment relationships, and the US must be at the top of that list.

However, Allie Renison, head of Europe and trade policy at the Institute of Directors was more sceptical.

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"It is perfectly plausible to extrapolate from these struggles that the UK could likely to do a deal faster with the US, but our special relationship is unlikely to render us any more able to secure a better more comprehensive deal than the EU is already negotiating in terms of obtaining better access to US markets," she said.

Meanwhile, Pirie added the stalled talks between the EU and US did not spell doom for the UK securing favourable access to the Single Market. "We have been in the Single Market," Pirie said. "We have had trade relations with the EU. The US was trying to reach that deal. We've already been part of that deal and therefore we'll be treated differently. It will be easier for us than it was for the Americans."

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However, a European Commission spokesperson hit back at Gabriel's suggestions the EU-US trade deal was now a no-go.

"It is worth mentioning that although trade talks take time, the ball is rolling right now, and the Commission is making steady progress in the ongoing TTIP negotiations," the spokesperson said.

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