United Kingdom officials see 30%-40% chance of Brexit trade deal with EU


The British daily reported that the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is said to be insisting that London must agree not to implement any change to United Kingdom legislation that could distort trade with the bloc without first consulting Brussels.

EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier holds a news conference after a meeting with Britain's chief negotiator David Frost in Brussels, Belgium, August 21, 2020.

There will be no post-Brexit trade deal without Britain-EU agreement on fisheries, Barnier said.

If no free trade agreement is secured by December 31, and with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson already ruling out the possibility of asking for an extension of the transition period, London and Brussels will have to trade on the terms set by the World Trade Organisation, meaning tariffs and full border checks would be imposed on UK goods entering the EU.

The British exit followed more than three years of wrangling over an exit deal since the 2016 referendum that sent shockwaves through global financial markets. Since Brexit, talks on a new trade deal have so far made little headway.

More than 40 years of free trade with the European Union will end January 1 after an 11-month transition period that followed Britain's formal departure from the bloc earlier this year. "We need more realism from the European Union, and them to show they understand the fundamentals of our position as an independent country", Johnson's spokesman said.

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"Our goal remains to reach an agreement, and we'll continue to work hard to do that, but we've been clear there is lots of work still to be done".

"The feedback after Barnier's talks with Frost in London on Sunday was negative, there has been no breakthrough", said a second European diplomat.

Michel said Barnier came back empty-handed ahead of what the bloc now says is a "strict deadline" of the end of October to seal a deal between the two sides.

While giving a downbeat assessment of the chances of agreement, Barnier remarked that "despite the current difficulties I believe that [UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson wants a deal", adding that "we will do everything in our power to reach an agreement until the last day".

An EU refusal to grant cross-border access to investment banking services from the City of London shows how the bloc wants to force Britain to keep adopting its rules in future, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said today.

Britain's desire to use state aid to build up its technology sector means that Johnson's top ministers are unwilling to budge in negotiations on state aid, The Times said.

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