International Trade Secretary Liam Fox admitted today that any post-Brexit trade agreements may be “some time away”.
Fox was asked when the UK could expect to strike a free trade deal with China, and replied: "We haven't got to Brexit yet of course and that may be some time away if we've got an implementation period.” Fox also admitted that efforts to boost trade with China have not been restricted by our membership of the EU, saying: “Self-evidently we can do it in a customs union because we can do it now while we are still in the EU.”
Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:
“It’s just another day in which another Brexit promise disappears in a puff of smoke.
“We were promised new free trade deals with major economies in double quick time but even the International Trade Secretary admits that isn't going to happen.
“Brextremists have long claimed that new free trade deals would make up for the losses that will come with leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union.
“If the reality instead is going to be all pain and no gain, then everyone has the right to keep an open mind about whether Brexit really is the right path for our country.”
Notes to editors:
More reporting on this story can be read here.