Britain will “copy and paste” up to 40 trade deals that the EU has with other countries because it cannot renegotiate them all at once, it has emerged.
Theresa May said the move will provide “certainty” for business at the point when the UK leaves the EU, but she is likely to come under pressure from Brexiteers to explain how long it will take to replace them with bespoke arrangements.
Mrs May has repeatedly used the promise of “global Britain” making its own tariff-free trade deals around the world to sell the benefits of Brexit to voters who wanted to remain in the EU.
However, her admission that existing EU trade deals will form the template for Britain’s post-Brexit arrangements raises doubts over how long it will take for businesses to start reaping those rewards.
Speaking to journalists on a flight to Japan on Tuesday night, she said: “When we leave the European Union we are obviously…