Iceland foreign minister: "Everyone would lose" if trade restrictions imposed after Brexit

Catherine Neilan
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Iceland's foreign minister has urged both sides of the Brexit debate to reach a solution "as soon as possible", saying it's vital no restrictions are imposed on trade after the UK leaves the EU.

Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson told the Today programme it would be a "step backwards and everyone would lose" if trade restrictions were imposed, suggesting the UK enter the EFTA agreement, enabling the country to trade with the EU with the likes of Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland itself.

He added: "You're the fifth largest economy in the world. Everyone wants to sell you goods and services, it's just as simple as that.

"Honestly I think it's just very important we find a solution as soon as possible... I would say the same thing to both sides - it's very important we will not see any technical or trade restriction now in Europe, that would be a step backwards and everyone would lose from that.

"You can debate if the EU wold lose more than the UK [but] everyone would lose.

"It can be done without UK being a member of the EU, that's one thing for sure."

His comments come as talks appear to be struggling between Brexit negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier. After a frosty press conference last week, the two sides have squabbled in public over whether enough progress is being made in order for the discussions to be opened up to include trade or the transitional agreement.

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