Brexit: UK-EU trade deal possible within days

Political editors report that talks between UK and EU negotiators have progressed to a point where a trade deal could be agreed within days. Some sources sagest that the process is likely to be concluded in the next few days, with an ambassador saying there is a hope the agreement could be finalised on Friday, while another diplomatic source said a deal at the end of the week is a possibility.

Despite this, there are concerns that any deal may not be turned into law before the transition period ends at the end of the month unless the process starts by the middle of next week. The deal will have to go through Parliament here, and in the EU, before the transition period ends in a few weeks’ time.

It is also the case that if there is not a deal, which still could come to pass, then ministers are worried about scrambling to get businesses prepared to cope with what might happen.

They are concerned about that in any case, because even with an agreement, a big change is on the way.

The suggestion that an agreement is imminent comes despite the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier yesterday telling EU ambassadors that the UK was triggering a new “crisis” in the trade talks, pointing to suggestions Prime Minister Boris Johnson will overrule the House of Lords and reinsert causes into the Internal Market Bill that ministers have admitted break international law.

Nonetheless British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that Britain remained committed to getting a free trade deal with the European Union. He said the EU is aware “what the UK bottom line is … It’s about making sure that the UK is able to run its own laws, its own fisheries, and so on, and that’s fundamentally what it’s what it’s all about.”

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