Wednesday 15 April 2020 4:29 pm

Brexit trade talks set to resume next week with no deadline extension

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost and his Brussels counterpart will meet for their next round of official trade talks next week.

Frost and chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier will hold week-long negotiating rounds via video conference on the weeks commencing 20 April, 11 May and 1 June.

Read more: Brexit trade talks to continue virtually as UK sticks to 2020 deadline

The pair met today to outline the process for trade talks going forward as the two sides try to negotiate a UK-EU trade deal before the 31 December deadline.

The government has consistently denied any notion the deadline should be extended due to disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis.

In a joint statement released today, spokespeople for Barnier and Frost said: “The two sides took stock of the technical work that has taken place since the first negotiating round on the basis of the legal texts exchanged by both sides. 

“While this work has been useful to identify all major areas of divergence and convergence, the two sides agreed on the need to organise further negotiating rounds in order to make real, tangible progress in the negotiations by June.”

The Spectator reports today that first secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Boris Johnson, met with Frost to reaffirm the government’s commitment to sticking strong to its 31 December deadline.

The UK is currently in a transition period where it still operates by EU rules, despite having left the bloc in January.

If no deal is struck by the end of the year, the UK and EU would revert to World Trading Organisation (WTO) terms.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said today there was no plans to change the deadline and that “it is written in law that the transition period will end on 31 December”.

Read more: UK sticks to December 2020 Brexit deadline despite coronavirus

He added that Downing Street will review the negotiations in June to assess if progress had been made.

“June is a period on which we can take stock in relation to how the negotiations are progressing so far,” he said.

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