EU, UK so far fail to bridge gaps to secure trade deal

In this news, we discuss the EU, UK so far fail to bridge gaps to secure trade deal.

BRUSSELS / LONDON / DUBLIN (Reuters) – The European Union and Britain have so far failed to reach an agreement on the three most persistent sticking points in the talks, the two said on Tuesday. parties, suggesting that any breakthrough in reaching a trade deal is still a long way off.

After nearly two weeks of intensified talks to try to strike a deal to protect nearly a trillion dollars in trade from serious disruption, stubborn fishing disputes, fair competition and dispute settlement have yet to be overcome .

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said time was running out to reach a deal, adding that some progress in safeguarding economic fair play was not enough.

“If there isn’t a set of ground rules around fair competition … and if there isn’t a governance structure capable of resolving disputes, then in my opinion, there is no “There will be no trade deal,” Coveney said at an online conference.

“Progress has been made in this area, but it is far from over.”

Any deal is expected to be reached before November 15 so that it can be ratified by the European Parliament before Britain’s transition out of the EU expires at the end of the year.

Businesses are hoping that time pressure and the COVID-19 crisis plaguing much of Europe can focus minds on reaching a deal to avoid chaos in trade, energy relations and the aviation.

But even then, UK government and business will not be prepared, the Institute for Government (IfG) think tank said, describing the disruption as inevitable in January with or without a deal.

Fishing, an industry laden with symbols for Brexit supporters in Britain, is proving a particularly tricky issue, with London insisting on annual quota negotiations – a demand the EU is resisting.

“We have not yet found a solution in the area of ​​fisheries,” a spokesperson for the EU’s European Executive Commission said at a press briefing. “We’re not there yet. There is still a lot to do.”

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We can only progress if the EU accepts the reality that the UK will have the right to control access to its waters.

“There are significant gaps that remain between our positions in the most difficult areas, and much remains to be done if we are to close those gaps.”

“SOBER”

Since leaving the EU in January after more than 40 years of membership, Britain has engaged in talks to build a new relationship spanning everything from trade to defense to sharing data.

An EU diplomat said EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier would give a “sober” assessment of the latest talks by briefing the 27 national envoys in Brussels on Wednesday.

Talks have often been bitter and plunged to new lows after Britain introduced legislation that would violate its pre-Brexit divorce deal with the bloc.

In response, the EU took legal action and said it would not implement any new trade deal with Britain unless London honored its previous legal obligations. Brussels said on Tuesday it would escalate the dispute.

With minds unraveling, a second EU diplomat said disagreements persisted over the sharing of fish stocks, including Britain’s demand for annual negotiations.

“This is where we are stuck. They didn’t go beyond those elements on fishing, ”the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A UK source also said there had not been much movement on fisheries, while the Prime Minister’s spokesman reiterated that London wanted “a simple separate fisheries framework agreement that reflects our rights under international law ”.

France could lose most of Britain’s takeover of access to its waters and the EU demands a longer-term perspective for its fishing industry.

Ideas for a transitional period from 2021 to help square the circle have yet to bear fruit, as sides remain spread out the length of such an arrangement and what exactly would happen at the end.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Elizabeth Piper, Additional reporting by Jan Strupczewski and John Chalmers in Brussels and William James in London, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alex Richardson, Gareth Jones and Nick Macfie

Original © Thomson Reuters

Originally posted 2020-11-04 04:46:12.

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