The British High Commissioner to Samoa, His Excellency Jonathan Sinclair and the British Honourary Consul Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu during yesterday’s press conference
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 13 APRIL 2017: The British High Commissioner to Samoa, His Excellency Jonathan Sinclair has reaffirmed that Britain’s relationship with the Pacific and other partners will continue to flourish after the UK leaves the European Union.
With the new developments in EU and the speedy way EU members want Britain to go, concern has been raised that this might delay or affect some of Britain’s commitment to the Pacific.
Talking to the media yesterday HE Sinclair reassured Britain’s continuing commitment.
He said Brexit will not delay nor affect the continuation of agreements already set down by UK with her partners.
“We do not take that as a sign that we want to raise the draw bridge and retreat from the world. On the contrary, the UK is going to double down on her efforts to be an actual global power, and look at strengthening her relationship further with old friends like Samoa and new allies alike,” said HE Sinclair.
He said there is going to be a very “complex set of negotiations over a 2 year period where the UK has to negotiate her departure from the EU, putting an agreement in place for when she leaves the EU, and what that arrangement will look like.”
The UK will also have to negotiate its’ membership with the World Trade Organisation which will see slight changes.
He said a lot will happen within that 2 year period which includes UK looking at establishing new free trade agreements with other countries.
“What I’m encouraged by is the early response to a letter that our Prime Minister sent to our EU colleagues, where we set out a desire to have a large, friendly and comprehensive partnership, which will make clear that the EU is Britain’s best friend once we leave,” said Sinclair.
He emphasized the UK’s strong security forces, intelligence agencies, military capabilities, which they want to share with friends in Europe.
“We want to have the most ambitious free trade agreement possible with them, and what’s encouraging, is the tone of the engagement that is going on,” said Sinclair.
It was noted that concerns were raised in the early days when the UK announced their intention to leaving EU, where grief and anger was shown towards the move.
However, that has “dissipated now and the mood between the UK and EU will improve.”
Sinclair said despite the presumption that there will be difficulty in some of the negotiations he does not believe that it will affect the UK’s engagement with the Pacific.
“We are not going to resign from our commitment,” said HE. Sinclair.