Monday 17 August 2020 8:32 pm

Downing Street confident of striking UK-EU trade deal next month

The UK is still on course to deliver an EU trade deal next month, according to Downing Street.

Negotiations are set to enter their seventh round on Tuesday when UK negotiators travel to Brussels.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman has said they would “continue to plug the gaps”.

A number of issues remain unresolved, including those on competition rules, fishing rights and how a deal would be enforced.

The UK continues to rule out extending the transition period, which is due to conclude at the end of this year.

The talks this week are the last scheduled negotiating round before autumn, although both sides have committed to continue discussions in September.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier criticised the UK for a lack of “willingness to break the deadlock” following the last round of talks in London.

He said an agreement would needed by October “At the latest” or it would not be ratified in time.

UK negotiation David Frost said the EU’s offers had failed to honour “the “fundamental principles which we have repeatedly made clear”.

However, he added that the UK was willing to consider a “simpler” structure for an agreement, rather than the series of separate deals currently being suggested.

Frost added that the EU had been “pragmatic” its approach to the UK demands to limit the European Court of Justice’s role following the end of the transition period.