European Union says Brexit deal still 'metres from the finish line'

European Union says Brexit deal still 'metres from the finish line'

If there is no deal, businesses on both sides of the English Channel will face tariffs and other barriers to trade starting on January 1.

"Parallel to the talks there must be more clarity from the Commission about their proposals for European contingency measures in the case the talks fail", Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told his EU counterparts on Thursday evening.

Discussions remain ongoing between the two sides but the middle of November had been viewed as the latest a deal could be agreed because of the amount of time needed to ratify and implement the new arrangements.

"I do hope that in the future, as Canada is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership ... that we will be able to go much further and build a much deeper relationship with Canada", she told legislators.

The European Union warned that the United Kingdom hasn't moved sufficiently to overcome the main obstacles to a post-Brexit trade deal as three of the bloc's leaders called for contingency plans to be stepped up in case there is no agreement.

The Brexit trade talks in Brussels came to an unexpected halt this afternoon after one member of the European negotiating team tested positive for coronavirus.

Irrespective of the confidence or fears of both sides, it remains the case that certain key areas of discussion remain to be settled, and there are no indications they will be resolved as, at the heart of the matter, Britain and the European Union want fundamentally different things.

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Officials in Brussels have said trade negotiations between Britain and the bloc are now entering the "final push".

A Johnson spokesman said that in less than two years, the government had signed or agreed in principle trade agreements with 52 countries, accounting for 142 billion pounds ($187bn) of British bilateral trade. "The talks will resume in person when it is judged safe to do so", Downing Street said. Barnier tested positive in March and Frost self-isolated that same month after developing coronavirus symptoms.

Emmanuel Macron is insisting that the UK-EU trade deal must be translated into French before he will support it, even if it means risking a no deal Brexit.

Barnier will now self-quarantine for ten days in line with Belgian law following the team member's test result.

Britain's transition out of the European Union following Brexit ends on December 31 and quotas and tariffs would hit bilateral trade from 2021, unless the estranged allies overcome their differences and seal a new partnership agreement that would also regulate ties from energy to transport to security.

If there is no deal, businesses on both sides of the English Channel will face tariffs and other barriers to trade starting on January 1. The EU fears Britain will slash social and environmental standards, and pump state money into United Kingdom industries, becoming a low-regulation economic rival on the bloc's doorstep.

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