Progress in UK-EU trade talks remains at a standstill
Following the latest round of post-Brexit UK-EU talks this week, progress remains limited in the pursuit of a tariff-free trade deal.
Both sides maintain key differences over issues such as access to fisheries and have exchanged criticisms over their respective negotiating positions.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier claim thsat the UK has reneged on previous commitments and warning that the EU will not agree a deal which will come “at any cost” to the bloc. Meanwhile, the UK government has said that the EU is making unreasonable demands which would not be expected of the bloc’s other trading partners, that seek to bind the UK to certain EU rules and standards.
The UK government must decide by the end of June whether it wishes to extend the post-Brexit transition period beyond December 31, 2020, keeping it in the single market and customs union.
Even if the EU favours one, the government has long insisted that it will not prolong the time-frame for negotiations any further.
Chief UK negotiator David Frost has said that a key summit where the progress of the negotiations will be reviewed could give the talks “new impetus”. An exact date has not yet been agreed.
The concern among businesses is that the existing December 31 cut-off point for the transition period leaves industry facing a “cliff-edge” to the UK’s single market access, with the legal default in the absence of a deal being World Trade Organization terms enacted overnight.