Post-Brexit trade talks set for make or break week
The UK is entering a crucial period in post-Brexit trade talks as negotiators aim to determine an outline to an agreement this week.
Michel Barnier and other EU negotiators arrived in London on Thursday to continue talks and are planned to stay until Wednesday. Talks are set to continue throughout this week, with further discussions planned in Brussels from Thursday.
This comes after Boris Johnson said the UK must be prepared to leave the EU without a deal, something Peter Hardwick, trade policy advisor at the British Meat Processors Association, said would be “devastating” for the British meat industry. The EU had also said that a deal with the UK needed to be agreed by the end of October.
However, Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, told the BBC that planned further talks are “a very good sign” that a deal can be achieved.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Lewis said: “We have got to make sure it is a deal that works, not just for our partners in Europe… but one that works for the United Kingdom.
“The EU need to understand it is for them to move as well, so that we can get a deal that works for the UK as well – a proper free trade agreement that recognises us as the UK being a sovereign nation.”
It is understood that the UK and the EU are working on legal texts, but issues over fishing rights and competition rules remain.
The UK’s chief negotiator, Lord David Frost, said: “Any future agreement will be made in respect of the decision-making autonomy of the European Union and with respect for British sovereignty.”
However, he added that “it is entirely possible that negotiations will not succeed” and that if a deal isn’t agreed, the UK will leave the EU “on Australia terms and will prosper in doing so.”