Brexit: Expert warns of retail ‘backlog’ at ports
Today, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer revealed the two may sign a mini-trade agreement before the turn of the year. A deal with the EU, however, has still not been reached with the Government announcing MPs and peers will begin their Christmas recess on Thursday – exerting full pressure on Brussels to agree a deal in time. With that in mind, Express.co.uk is asking readers in our exclusive poll today, “Would you rather Boris Johnson secure a trade deal with the EU or US?”
Brexit talks have continued to fail to break the deadlock between the EU and UK, with European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen admitting negotiations may still fail before the end of the year.
The issues of a level playing field and fisheries remain between the two sides although Ms von der Leyen indicated an agreement had been made on state aid.
Within the umbrella of fair competition, the EU had wanted the two sides to agree on unilateral tariffs if one side drops its standards or regulations.
Ms von der Leyen revealed on Wednesday an agreement had also been made on environmental, social and labour standards to stop unfair competition.
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However, she warned the issue of fisheries could cause talks to fail as the two sides head towards a no deal Brexit.
She said: “The discussion is still very difficult.
“We do not question the UK sovereignty on its own waters.
“But we ask for predictability and stability for our fishermen and our fisherwomen.
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“And in all honesty, it sometimes feels that we will not be able to resolve this question.
“But we must continue to try finding a solution. And it is the only responsible and right course of action.”
EU officials have remained adamant over continued access to the UK’s waters post-Brexit.
Michel Barnier had offered the UK an 18 percent fishing quota return from British waters but the UK wants a return close to 60 percent.
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Even if a deal is agreed, it would need to be ratified by the European Parliament before the end of the year with some officials indicating this may need to take place on December 28.
While talks with the EU continue to stall, a mini trade agreement with the US could be signed before the turn of the year to remove tariffs on several products.
Speaking today, Donald Trump’s trade representative, Robert Lighthizer said the current President is working to secure a deal before he leaves office.
Speaking to the BBC, he concluded a deal could be agreed to remove tariffs on Scotch whisky which currently amounts to £5.6billion.
Hopes of a partial agreement were given hope after UK officials indicated tariffs will be removed on Boeing products form January 1.
Mr Lighthizer told the BBC: “I’m talking to Liz Truss, about trying to work out some kind of a deal.
“I’m hopeful we can get some kind of an agreement out you know, we don’t have a lot of time left.
“We have the advantage in that both the US and the UK – particularly the current government of the UK – are not big subsidisers, where some other countries are more inclined to subsidise.
“So it would be helpful if we could come to some kind of agreement.”
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