Post-Brexit trade talks continuing through the weekend

David Frost and Michel Barnier
David Frost and Michel Barnier (PA Media)
8:27am, Sat 24 Oct 2020
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Talks between the UK and EU on a post-Brexit trade deal are continuing through the weekend.

Negotiations resumed on Thursday after Boris Johnson last week called a temporary halt, accusing Brussels of refusing to compromise over the remaining differences.

Downing Street said the two sides – led by the EU’s Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart Lord Frost – were now in “intensive talks” which would carry on through to Sunday.

Time is, however, running short if they are to get an agreement in place before the current Brexit transition period comes to an end at the end of the year.

Both the UK and the EU had previously said that they would need to get a deal by mid-October if it was to be implemented in time.

Mr Johnson has said that if there is no agreement, Britain will start trading with the bloc on “Australian terms” – shorthand for World Trade Organisation rules.

However the prospect of the imposition of tariffs and quotas has alarmed many businesses already reeling from the fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic.

The main obstacles to a deal remain fishing rights, so-called “level playing field” rules to ensure fair competition and the governance arrangements for any agreement.

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