TRADE

Brexit: 'Significant differences remain' over trade deal

Both parties agreed negotiating teams would resume talks in London today

In Summary

Brexit deadline scheduled for January 1, 2021

Negotiations aimed at agreeing the new relationship - including a trade deal, but also rules in areas like fishing access

PM Boris Johnson.
PM Boris Johnson.
Image: FILE

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday said a trade deal with the European Union was “there to be done”, with its broad outline already “pretty clear”.

“I’ve always been a great enthusiast for a trade deal with our European friends and partners,” Johnson told reporters.

Following a call with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday, the PM said progress had been made but there were still issues around the "level playing field" and fishing.

Both parties agreed negotiating teams would resume talks in London on Monday.

They also agreed to remain "in close contact" over the coming days.

A statement from Downing Street on Saturday said:

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a stock take on the progress in the negotiations between the UK and the EU.

"The prime minister set out that, while some progress had been made in recent discussions, significant differences remain in a number of areas, including the so-called level playing field and fish.

"The prime minister and president agreed that their negotiating teams would continue talks in London next week, beginning on Monday (today), in order to redouble efforts to reach a deal.

"They agreed to remain in personal contact about the negotiations," the statement said.

Echoing Johnson, von der Leyen acknowledged "some progress had been made, but large differences remain". "Our teams will continue working hard next week," she wrote on Twitter.

Negotiations aimed at agreeing the new relationship - including a trade deal, but also rules in areas like fishing access, the regulation of medicine, and security co-operation - were always intended to be held after Brexit day and during the transition.