Simply ‘a number of hours’ left to agree a Brexit commerce deal

European Commissions UK Activity Pressure Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier.

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LONDON – The U.Okay. and the European Union are operating out of time to agree phrases on a post-Brexit buying and selling association, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has warned.

Either side have provided conflicting messages in current days over the chance of a commerce deal being agreed earlier than Britain departs the EU’s orbit in two weeks’ time.

Addressing the European Parliament in Brussels on Friday, Barnier mentioned negotiations had reached “the second of fact.”

“We now have little time remaining, only a few hours, to work by means of these negotiations in a helpful style if we wish the settlement to enter into pressure on the first January,” Barner mentioned.

“There’s a probability of getting an settlement however the path to such an settlement could be very slender.”

A deal would probably guarantee tariff-free items commerce between the U.Okay. and the EU after Dec. 31, however key disputes over points corresponding to fisheries have continued to plague discussions in current weeks.

Each British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen struck downbeat tones following a cellphone name on Thursday evening, with Johnson suggesting a deal was unlikely except the bloc was keen to make concessions on fisheries. In the meantime, von der Leyen acknowledged that an accord can be “very difficult” at this stage.

This got here only a day after von der Leyen introduced {that a} “slender path” had emerged for the 2 sides to agree a deal earlier than the deadline.

Sterling, which had been rallying in current days on mounting optimism {that a} damaging “no deal” state of affairs may very well be averted, dropped 0.3% towards the greenback throughout morning commerce in London on Friday, altering arms at simply above $1.3540.

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