US President Barack Obama said that it could take up to 10 years for the UK to negotiate trade deals with the US if the country votes to leave the European Union.
Obama said in an interview with the BBC: “The UK would not be able to negotiate something with the United States faster than the EU.”
“We wouldn’t abandon our efforts to negotiate a trade deal with our largest trading partner, the European market. But rather, it could be could be five years from now, 10 years now before we were actually able get something done,” the President added.
President Obama arriving in London:
Obama’s comments come a day after he said that the UK would be at “the back of the queue” for US trade deals if it leaves the EU.
Hillary Clinton, the favourite to win the Democratic nomination in July, also weighed in on the matter too.
Clinton’s senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said: “Hillary Clinton believes that transatlantic co-operation is essential, and that co-operation is strongest when Europe is united.
“She has always valued a strong United Kingdom in a strong EU. And she values a strong British voice in the EU.”
Conservative MP Damian Green, a board member of the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign and the chairman of European Mainstream, told The Guardian:
“This shows how misleading it is to say this is just the view of a president in his last days in office. It confirms that mainstream political opinion in the United States is in favour of Britain remaining in the EU, and that the transatlantic values that we share with the US are expressed most strongly in Europe by a fully engaged Britain.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson called Obama’s comments hypocritical.
Mr Johnson said that leaving the EU would actually put Britain in a more favourable position to strike a trade deal with the US.
“I’ve got great respect for President Obama and the office of the American president,” he was quoted by the BBC as saying. “I was one of the first to say how wonderful it would be if he became president.
“But I think a lot of people in this country will think ‘give me a break folks’.
“We haven’t had a trade deal with America for 43 years. Why not? Do you know why not? Because we’re in the European Union.”