UK aims to secure FOUR post-Brexit trade deals by end of 2020 as pressure ramped up on EU
After next Friday, the UK will be free to commence trade talks with other countries, and senior Government officials are believed to be urging Boris Johnson to prioritise a deal with the US. Such a move would send a clear signal to the EU that their is life for Britain outside of the bloc. The Government has a deadline of December 31 to reach an agreement with Brussels, and UK officials also aim to broker a deal with the US, Australia and New Zealand within the same time frame.
Senior officials in the UK’s Department for International Trade are urging the Prime Minister to prioritise a trade deal with the US and ensure that it is the first to be signed into law, Business Insider report.
Officials are confident such a move would be a major symbolic moment for Britain as it starts life outside the EU.
Such a stance has been taken by Crawford Falconer, the UK’s chief trade adviser, according to the news website.
It comes after Washington expressed disappointment that the UK was to prioritise talks with Brussels.
On Wednesday Chancellor Sajid Javid said striking a deal with the EU would take precedence over an agreement with the US.
He told a finance panel at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland: “Our first priority is of course getting the agreement with the EU.”
But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was “a little disappointed” that Washington wasn’t getting top priority.
He said: “I thought we’d go first. They may be a little harder to deal then than us anyway.”
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Britain will be free to strike trade deals from February 1, the day after the UK has officially left the EU.
The UK is set to begin negotiating a trade deal with Donald Trump’s administration immediately after this date and aims to finalise an arrangement by the end of the year.
But it is thought that a basic deal is more likely to be struck within this time frame, enabling the Government’s to build on it in the years that follow.
A Downing Street source said that the Government had not yet produced a timetable for implementing prospective trade agreements.
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The Prime Minister is also keen to secure a deal with Australia and New Zealand, which are expected to be reached fairly quickly.
The Government has until December 31 to strike a deal with Brussels, as the date marks the end of the EU transition period.
If the two sides have failed to broker an agreement, the UK will effectively leave the bloc without a deal and will be forced to trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.
But Mr Johnson is confident a trade deal will be reached within the time frame, despite EU chiefs being sceptical that a comprehensive agreement will be signed by the end of the year.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been vocal in her views that 11 months is not enough time to reach a deal.
Earlier this month she said it was “impossible” to agree a full UK-EU trade deal by the end of 2020.
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