Brexit Negotiators in Bid to Break Deadlock over Trade

Brexit negotiators from the European Union and Britain will be speaking on Tuesday. It is in their attempt to break the deadlock over a trade deal. Both sides demanded concessions to prevent a disruptive finale to the Brexit drama.

A no-deal Brexit 2020 exit when Britain leaves a standstill transition period on Dec. 31 would sow chaos through supply chains. It would undermine Europe’s economy just as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes whole sectors to the edge of insolvency.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke off talks after an EU demand for concessions. He said it was time to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. It is, he said, is the nightmare scenario for business.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has offered to intensify talks and to open discussions on legal texts of a draft deal. There was still no basis to resume discussions, Britain said. That’s unless there was a fundamental change in approach.

Barnier and Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, were due to a speaking engagement at 1300 GMT by telephone.

Diplomats from EU cast Britain’s moves as bluster and a frantic bid to secure concessions before a last-minute deal.

Most Likely a Deal

Another EU diplomat said they got what they wanted. That includes intensified talks on legal texts and on multiple areas. Now, they are just faffing around.

At the end of January, Britain formally left the EU. The two sides have been negotiating over a deal that would govern $900 billion in trade. That includes everything from car parts to medicines.

Clearly, Britain wanted the EU to budge. This was while the EU was clear that it was awaiting Britain’s response.

David Frost Brexit negotiator said on Monday that the EU still needs to make a fundamental change. This is in its approach to the talks and to make clear it has done so.

However, EU diplomats said they had already moved towards Britain.

The first EU diplomat said, if Britain wants to keep on talking, they have enough material from their side. That is to argue at home that time is ripe. They have all the input from their side they need.

Johnson and his Brexit supremo Michael Gove will go on a video call on Tuesday. They will tell businesses to step up preparations for the end of the transition period.

Most likely, the outcome is a deal, said U.S. investment banks. Albeit, the consensus was wrong on the 2016 Brexit referendum. The Britons voted by 52-48% to leave, shocking markets and European leaders.

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