U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing Britain behind the European Union in the queue to strike new trade deal, unnamed sources have told The Times.
The sources, who are described as being “close to both sides”, say that German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month convinced Mr Trump that talks on a trade deal between the EU and U.S. would be simpler than he thought.
This in turn led to a “realisation” in the White House that an EU trade deal would be more important than a deal with Britain.
The claims come after House Speaker Paul Ryan hinted earlier this week that the infamous TTIP deal could be resurrected.
On a visit to Britain, he told the Policy Exchange think-tank: “Now that Article 50 has been invoked, the UK and EU will determine the best path forward…
“We want the parties to come together and strike a lasting agreement. A strong UK-EU relationship is in all of our best interests.
“In that same vein, the U.S. will continue to work closely with our EU friends and chart a path forward on TTIP negotiations.”
Most commentators believed the deal after Mr Trump’s election as President, especially as one of his first acts was to pull out of the similar Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the U.S. and Pacific nations.
In November, the EU effectively admitted defeat over the deal with Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström saying it would make no sense to expect further talks on the issue.
Negotiations had already stalled due to European demands over American product standards and a demand for access to U.S. public sector contracts.
In January, Professor Ted Malloch, who is widely tipped to be President Trump’s pick for ambassador to the EU, also said: “TTIP is a non-starter, it isn’t going to happen in the Trump world.”