Downing Street optimistic of UK-EU trade deal in September
The prime minister’s official spokesman has said that the UK believes a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU can be agreed before the end of September.
The spokesman added that negotiators would look to “plug the gaps” in the next round of negotiations in Brussels on Tuesday, with division remaining over fishing rights, competition rules and how the trade deal would effectively be enforced.
A deal must be agreed and fully ratified by the end of December, when UK-EU trade will default to World Trade Organization terms.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has previously said that a deal must be reached by October at the latest to ensure it receives full approval before the end of the year.
This week’s negotiations in Brussels are the last scheduled round of talks before the autumn, but both sides have indicated that talks will run into September.
After several months of deadlock, Barnier said that the UK had now shown a willingness to consider a “simpler” structure for an agreement, as opposed to its previous insistence of separate deals covering individual issues.
Barnier also hinted that the EU had been “pragmatic” over the UK’s wish to limit the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in any British affairs after December.