Brexit deal UP TO THE EU says Britain as anger mounts over Brussels' 'changing approach'

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Whitehall sources last night suggested a deal was not likely before next week at the earliest as the talks between both sides continue virtually in a desperate bid to secure a deal. The UK is set to leave the single market and customs union in any event but work continues on a deal to allow smooth trade with no quotas or tariffs.

 

However, talks between both sides have been stuck at an impasse on the issues of fishing rights, the governance of any deal and the “level playing field” conditions aimed at preventing unfair competition by cutting standards or increasing state subsidies.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “It’s no secret that there have been two difficult sticking points – state aid and fisheries.

“Our negotiating team is working hard to try and get a breakthrough and to ensure that we have a free trade agreement and a future partnership.”

Mr Eustice stressed the UK Government wanted to get tariff-free trade on all goods but he stressed the UK “accepted that the EU weren’t up for any kind of special agreement” so since then “we’ve been working on a simple trade deal much like the EU/Canada one.”

Referring to the current EU negotiations, he said: “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink and if the EU are reluctant or unwilling to do a tariff-free trade agreement, then we would as a country have to review what our response to that would be.”

Speaking at Holyrood’s Environment Committee, Mr Eustice also admitted the UK had increased it’s patrolling of UK waters ahead of the end of the transition period amid increasing fears Michel Barnier and his team will not budge.

He added: “The greatest challenges will come in the channel and the southern north sea, so we’ve increased our patrol capacity by about fivefold, with additional vessels from the Royal Navy.”

A Whitehall source close to the negotiations said this was similar to the current situation between the two sides.

READ MORE: France say they’ll NEVER back down on fishing in Brexit standoff

He added: “Throughout the negotiation our position has been consistently clear.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility also laid bare the economic importance of a deal, warning that failure to reach an agreement could result in a 2 percent hit to gross domestic product, the standard measure of the size and health of a nation’s economy.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The PM believes that the UK will thrive with or without a deal with the EU.

“But it remains our ambition to reach an FTA which is why we continue to negotiate.”

“But it remains our ambition to reach an FTA which is why we continue to negotiate.”

This evening, the EU Parliament also approved a mini trade deal with the United States, which will include the elimination of customs duties on US lobster imports.

The Bloc will now drop its 8 percent tariff on U.S. lobsters for the next five years and work to make the move permanent.

The imports to the EU were worth £83 million in 2017 before before falling off in the face of rising tensions between the trading partners.



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