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Home Lao Chinese Partners

Britain ‘not afraid to walk away’ from Brexit talks

(China Daily) -- The United Kingdom’s chief Brexit negotiator has said Britain is not “scared” to walk away from talks with the European Union over future trading relations between the UK and the bloc beyond the end of the year without reaching an agreement.
Since Britain left the bloc at the end of January, it has been in a transition period where it remains subject to EU regulations, with the aim of the two sides coming to terms by the end of 2020, a deadline imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

A general view at the start of a round of post-Brexit trade deal talks between the EU and the United Kingdom, in Brussels, Belgium. (File Photo )

So far, however, talks have failed to make significant progress, and after the most recent round the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he was “worried and disappointed” by the UK’s lack of flexibility.
British negotiator David Frost told the Mail on Sunday that Britain would leave at the end of the year, “come what may”, and “a lot of what we are trying to do this year is to get (the EU) to realise that we mean what we say and they should take our position seriously”.
Last year, Johnson won the general election campaign on a promise to “Get Brexit Done” and spoke of an “oven-ready” deal, but time is now running out, with little sign of compromise, and he has said with or without a deal, “we will prosper mightily one way or the other”.
Frost said the current government would not repeat the negotiating mistakes of Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May.
“I don’t think that we are scared of this at all,” added Frost. Speaking on the BBC, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab backed up Frost’s remarks, saying this week was “the EU’s best moment to strike a deal” and that the raised stakes should be a “wake-up call” for Brussels.
The key issues holding back discussions are fishing rights and post-Brexit state aid to British industries.
Brussels says it wants EU member states to have access to British waters in return for the UK’s fishing industry having access to EU markets. Raab accused the EU of wanting to keep British access to European waters “permanently low”.
According to House of Commons figures quoted by German broadcaster DW in 2019, the UK’s fishing industry employs 24,000 people, contributing 1.4 billion pounds (US$1.8 billion) to the economy, which is 0.12 percent of GDP and less than 0.1 percent of Britain’s workforce.

 


(Latest Update
September 8
, 2020
)


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