Frost: UK-EU trade deal could be in place by September
Chief UK negotiator David Frost has this week said that a free-trade deal with the EU could be agreed as early as September, the Telegraph reports.
UK and EU officials will meet in Brussels next week for the next round of talks, following two weeks away from the negotiating table after five weeks of intensified negotiation.
Frost said: “Our assessment is that an agreement can be reached in September, and we will work to achieve this if we can”.
Frost’s EU counterpart Michel Barnier has said that an agreement must be finalised by October if it is to be formally ratified before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Irish taoiseach Micheál Martin, who met with prime minister Boris Johnson in Northern Ireland on Thursday, said that a “landing zone” for a deal had presented itself.
Martin said: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It seems to me that there is a landing zone if that will is there on both sides, and I think it is.”
There are still flashpoints in the negotiations, including fishing rights and the “level playing field” guarantees, particularly regarding state aid rules.
However, the Telegraph reports that the previous round of negotiations saw both sides make concessions to help talks progress.
The UK has reportedly accepted the EU’s wish for the future relationship to be governed by one all-encompassing agreement as opposed to separate deals, while the EU has acknowledged the UK’s insistence that the European Court of Justice will have no jurisdiction over the future relationship.
Frost said: “The UK's sovereignty, over our laws, our courts, or our fishing waters, is of course not up for discussion, and we will not accept anything which compromises it – just as we aren't looking for anything which threatens the integrity of the EU's single market.”
Barnier and Frost will meet in Brussels on Tuesday next week, with negotiations set to close on Friday. It is possible that talks could resume as early as the following week.