Addressing the Munich Security Conference, the European Commission president stressed: “Trade deals are the remit of the EU, and Britain now cannot complete trade deals with half the world.
“Those, who believe that a free trade agreement could be made within two years are fundamentally wrong.”
However, he went on to acknowledge that Britain most likely has it’s sights elsewhere – namely China.
The UK is aiming to strike a free trade agreement with Beijing after leaving Brussels, with both parties keen to prove that Brexit has not affect trade ties.
Britain and China have recently announced increased cooperation in a number of areas, including financial services, as Theresa May prepares to trigger Article 50.
According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, both nations are looking to work together on a number of flagship projects, including the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Britain.
Reports also suggest the two governments have embarked on a “golden area” in their relationship, with the Prime Minister signalling her intentions of a free trade agreement with the country.
Downing Street has also confirmed the Prime Minister’s visit to China later this year, with the intention of developing new business links with the world’s second largest economy.
The UK is also attempting to agree post-Brexit trade deals with New Zealand, citing the ongoing “strong and growing” trade relationship between the countries, which is worth more than £3billion a year.
Britain is New Zealand’s second largest foreign investor, and its fifth largest bilateral trading partner.
Canada is also a main contender in an early post-Brexit deal with the UK after lawmakers in the EU passed the long-awaited CETA agreement.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau hailed the landmark agreement, which sees the scrapping of import duties, as a “blueprint” for future trade deals.