Noonan warns of 'difficulties' negotiating post-Brexit trade deal

Michael Noonan says the talks will be 'long and drawn out'

Noonan warns of 'difficulties' negotiating post-Brexit trade deal

Finance Minister Michael Noonan at Government Buildings in Dublin | File photo | Rollingnews.ie

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said there will be "lots of difficulties" when it comes to negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain.

Michael Noonan says the talks would be "lengthy and tough".

He told Sky News: "There are two phases to it - first of all, there's the disengagement of the UK from the Union under the provisions of Article 50.

"And then there's a negotiation of what alternative relationship arrangement is put in place, particularly on trade.

"So I think it will be long, drawn out and there'll be many twists on the road and lots of difficulties", he added.

It comes as the Government's chief economist warned of around 40,000 job losses because of Brexit.

Mr Noonan was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where British Prime Minister Theresa May told world leaders the UK was in talks with a number of countries over trade deals.

She said Britain had already been in discussions with Australia, New Zealand and India - and added that China, Brazil and the Gulf States had also expressed an interested in striking deals.

Australia's finance minister saidhe expects a free trade agreement to be done "very quickly".

Mrs May insisted in her speech that the Brexit vote was not about the UK looking inwards but was about building a "truly global Britain".

She said: "I want the UK to emerge from this period of change as a truly global Britain - the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too; a country that gets out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.

"And that is exactly what we are going to do."

Mrs May said that Britain was a "hub for foreign investment" and cited Indian company Tata as the country's biggest manufacturer.

She is set to visit Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin in the coming weeks, who told told the World Economic Forum there would be no return to borders of the past post-Brexit.