Tuesday 17 November 2020 8:45 am

UK Brexit chief says trade deal could be struck ‘early next week’

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost has reportedly told Prime Minister Boris Johnson to expect a trade deal with the EU “early next week”.

The Sun reported that Frost said there was a “possible landing zone” that could be reached as early as next Tuesday.

Read more: Exclusive: Ministers risk ‘catastrophic’ outcome for financial services in Brexit talks, warns mayor

Britain and the EU are entering a key phase of negotiations. There is little time left for a deal to be struck if it is to be in place by the time the Brexit transition period ends in December.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney yesterday told Sky News that “we are running out of time”.

He said: “We have got to make big progress this week, hopefully we have got to get the big issues resolved in principle this week.”

However, the two sides remain a way apart of fishing rights and “level playing field” rules. That is, a common set of rules and standards that are designed to stop one side gaining a competitive advantage.

The two issues have been major sticking points for months. Both sides insist the other needs to give way, but there has been little movement so far.

Mayor says City must be taken into account

Britain has said the two sides have agreed common draft treaty texts, although significant issues still remain to be thrashed out.

Business groups have increased their calls in recent weeks for the government to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Such an outcome would raise tariffs on trade and lead to burdensome paperwork.

Writing for City A.M. yesterday, mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the capital’s financial sector was not being taken into due consideration during talks.

Read more: Exclusive: Ministers risk ‘catastrophic’ outcome for financial services in Brexit talks, warns mayor

“Come the end of the year, the City and the whole UK financial services sector will face significant barriers to doing business directly with a market to which it currently exports around £26 billion of financial services every year,” he wrote.

“This would be a catastrophic outcome, but one that’s looking increasingly likely.”

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