Trade with Britain after Brexit won't be easier - EU's Tusk

European Council President Donald Tusk leaves after meeting Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in 10 Downing Street in London, March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The chairman of European Union leaders, Donald Tusk, made clear on Wednesday that trade between the bloc and Britain would only get more difficult after Brexit.

Tusk on Wednesday presented a draft joint stance of the remaining 27 states on their future ties with Britain, offering a free-trade agreement that is modest compared to what London had called for, and spelling out clear limits on the access British banks could have in continental Europe.

“Because of Brexit, we will be drifting apart,” Tusk told a joint news conference with the Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel.

“In fact, this will be the first free-trade agreement in history that loosens economic ties instead of strengthening them. Our agreement will not make trade between the UK and the EU frictionless or smoother. It will make it more complicated and costly than today for all of us.”

Bettel echoed that line in saying: “There will be no winners after Brexit, both sides will be loosing.”

Reporting by Michele Sinner, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska