Fears of a deadlock between the UK and the EU persist ahead of negotiations which begin on Tuesday 18 August. Both sides admitted after the last talks in London in July that they still remained some way off reaching a post-Brexit trade agreement.
Ahead of the latest round of upcoming negotiations in Brussels, a No 10 spokesperson said the government “will continue to plug the gaps where any differences remain”.
However, after last month’s talks, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said a deal looked “at this point unlikely”. This was given the UK position on fishing rights and post-Brexit competition rules. Barnier said the UK had not shown a “willingness to break the deadlock” on these issues.
Risk of no deal Brexit
Barnier added that there was a risk of no deal being achieved unless the UK changed its course on these topics which are “at the heart” of the EU’s trade interests. He said that an agreement would be needed by October “at the latest”. This is so that it can be ratified before the current post-Brexit transition period ends on 31 December.
His UK counterpart David Frost agreed that “considerable gaps” remained in these areas, but argued that a deal was still possible.
Looking ahead to the next trade negotiations, the No 10 spokesperson said:
There are many issues that will be discussed during this week’s round, not least level playing field, fisheries, trading goods and services amongst others.
The UK has ruled out extending the December deadline to reach a deal.
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