Trump says May’s Brexit plan would kill UK-US trade deal

She should negotiate the best way she knows how. But it is too bad what is going on, Trump said. (AFP)
Updated 13 July 2018
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Trump says May’s Brexit plan would kill UK-US trade deal

  • Trump told the Sun newspaper that he had advised May on how to conduct Brexit negotiations
  • May’s government is trying to satisfy Britons who voted for their country to leave the EU

LONDON: US President Donald Trump lobbed a verbal hand grenade into Theresa May’s carefully constructed plans for Brexit Thursday, saying the British leader had wrecked the country’s exit from the European Union and likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States.
Trump, who making his first presidential visit to Britain, told the Sun newspaper that he had advised May on how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”
“She should negotiate the best way she knows how. But it is too bad what is going on,” the president said.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid published an interview with Trump as May was hosting him at a black-tie dinner at Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Britain’s World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill — the leader who coined the term “special relationship” for the trans-Atlantic bond.
The Sun said the interview was conducted Thursday in Brussels, before Trump traveled to Britain. Trump made his remarks on Brexit the same day May’s government published long-awaited proposals for Britain’s relations with the EU after it leaves the bloc next year.
The long-awaited document proposes keeping Britain and the EU in a free market for goods, with a more distant relationship for services.
The plan has infuriated fervent Brexit supporters, who think it would limit Britain’s ability to strike new trade deals around the world. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis both quit the government this week in protest.
Trump came down firmly on the side of the Brexiteers, saying what May proposed would hurt the chances of a future trade deal between the UK and the United States.
“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said.
He said “the deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one the people voted on.”
In fact, much of Britain’s division over Brexit — which has split the governing Conservative party and the public at large — stems from the June 2016 referendum on withdrawing from the EU not including language about would come next.
May’s government is trying to satisfy Britons who voted for their country to leave the bloc, but to set an independent course without hobbling businesses, security agencies and other sectors that are closely entwined with the EU.
May insisted earlier Thursday that her plan was exactly what Britons had voted for in the 2016 referendum.
“They voted for us to take back control of our money, our law and our borders,” she said. “That is exactly what we will do.”
In another blow to May, Trump said her now ex-foreign secretary “would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.”
May and Trump are scheduled to hold talks and a joint news conference on Friday.
Trump’s interview easily could overshadow the government’s attempt to lay out plans for what it calls a “principled and pragmatic” Brexit.
Britain is currently part of the EU’s single market — which allows for the frictionless flow of goods and services among the 28 member states — and its tariff-free customs union for goods. That will end after the UK leaves the bloc in March.
The plans laid out Thursday in a 98-page government paper gave Britain’s most detailed answer yet to the question of what will replace them.
Under the blueprint, Britain would stick to a “common rulebook” with the EU for goods and agricultural products in return for free trade, without tariffs or border customs checks. Such an approach would avoid disruption to automakers and other manufacturers that source parts from multiple countries.
The government said Britain would act “as if in a combined customs territory” with the EU, using technology at its border to determine whether goods from third countries were bound for Britain or the EU, and charging the appropriate tariffs in those cases.
Britain says that will solve the problem of maintaining an open border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and EU member Ireland.
Free trade would not apply to services, which account for 80 percent of the British economy. The government said that would give Britain “freedom to chart our own path,” though it would mean less access to EU markets than there is now.
The plan also seeks to keep Britain in major EU agencies, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Medicines Agency and the police agency Europol.
When the UK leaves the EU, it will end the automatic right of EU citizens to live and work in Britain. But Britain said EU nationals should be able to travel visa-free to Britain for tourism or “temporary business,” and there should be measures allowing young people and students to work and study in Britain.
Other elements likely to anger Brexit-backers are Britain’s willingness to pay the EU for access to certain agencies and the suggestion some EU citizens could continue to work in Britain visa-free.
And while Britain will no longer fall under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice — a longtime bugbear of Brexit supporters — British courts would “pay due regard” to European court case law in relevant cases under the proposals.
Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg colorfully described the plan as “the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200.”
Pro-EU lawmakers, in contrast, think the proposed post-Brexit ties with the bloc are not close enough.


Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

  • By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations
  • Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180

TEPIC, Mexico: Supplying clean water and toilets for all could take hundreds of years in countries like Eritrea and Namibia unless governments step up funding to tackle the problem and its harmful effects on health, an international development agency warned on Monday.
WaterAid — which says nearly 850 million people lack clean water — predicted the world will miss a global goal to provide drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone by 2030.
Meeting it will cost $28 billion per year, the non-profit said.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis,” said Savio Carvalho, WaterAid’s global advocacy director.
“We’re really calling for governments to pull up their socks,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from the United Nations in New York.
From July 9-18, governments are reviewing progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed at the United Nations in 2015, with a focus on six of the 17.
Last week, UN officials said barriers to achieving the 2030 water and sanitation targets range from conflict and water pollution to climate change, urging more efficient water use.
By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations, WaterAid said.
Drawing on UN data, the UK-based group calculated some countries will need hundreds of years to provide safe drinking water and toilets for all their people, meaning countries collectively are thousands of years off track.
At current rates, Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180, WaterAid said.
It could be 500 years before every Romanian has access to a toilet, and 450 years for Ghanaians, it added.
Governments should fund water and sanitation provision from their own budgets, and work with utilities and private companies to reach people in isolated areas, said Carvalho.
“There’s money around — it’s just not allocated in the right way,” he said, urging international donors to increase spending on water and sanitation.
Other global goals to ensure healthy lives, reduce inequality and end poverty will be jeopardized until access to water and sanitation is prioritized, noted Carvalho.
WaterAid quoted World Bank data showing the knock-on effects of inadequate sanitation — which causes child deaths from poor hygiene and preventable disease — cost $220 billion in 2015.
Some countries, including Rwanda and India, have made substantial headway toward the water and sanitation goal, but sustaining progress remains a challenge, said Carvalho.
“For the nations collectively to be thousands of years off track in meeting these human rights is shocking,” WaterAid Chief Executive Tim Wainwright said in a statement. (Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit