EU’s Brexit head negotiator Michel Barnier admitted in a press conference in London on Thursday that a trade deal between the bloc and its former member would require more time despite recent progress. He made the announcement following the latest round of talks with the UK.
Barnier said that given the current refusal from the British side to commit to conditions of open and fair competition and to a balanced agreement on fishery, «the UK makes a trade agreement at this point, unlikely.»
«If you do not reach an agreement on our future partnership, there will be far more friction. For instance on trading goods. In addition to new customs formalities, there will be tariffs and quotas. This is the truth of Brexit. And I will continue to tell the truth. If we want to avoid this additional friction, we must come to an agreement in October at the latest so that our new treaty can enter into force on the 1st of January next year. This means that we only have a few weeks left and that we should not waste them. Let me also remind you that we only have little time. In fact, the same time to properly implement the Withdrawal Agreement,» Barnier told the press.
The UK left the EU on January 31 but remains inside the EU's tariff-free economic zone until the end of 2020. Both parties are trying to reach a new trade agreement before January 1st to avoid a no-deal scenario.