EU will cave! Boris Johnson to secure trade deal THIS WEEK in 11th hour breakthrough
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Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland told Express.co.uk in an interview today this week “was the week” for a deal to be secured. The thorny issues of fishing rights and the “level playing field” aimed at preventing unfair competition on standards and state subsidies remain the major obstacles to an agreement.
But this publication has learnt a deal could be secured by the end of this week as talks between Lord Frost and Michel Barnier continue.
In an exclusive interview with this website, he said: “We’ve had for a quite a long time now that this is the week.
“But I genuinely think that this is the week.
“The clock is ticking for a deal to be ratified because we are ending the transition period on December 31 so I do genuinely think this is the week to get a deal done.
“With the EU historically, it’s always been at the 59th minute at the 11th hour and I think we’ve reached that.
“If they are prepared to respect our sovereignty having left the EU and to respect the sovereignty of our costal waters, then I hope there is a deal to be done.”
“I really hope there is a deal to be done, it’s as much for them as for us.”
Mr Jack stressed the UK spent 100 billion euros more than Brussels spent with us on trade making clear “it was in their interests” to have a good trading relationship.
He continued: “Also, we have to recognise our nearest trading partner and we should have a trade deal with our nearest trading partner if at all possible.
“But it has to be on the basis of respect and respect for sovereignty.”
Mr Jack concluded: “I think we can after 45 years of being closely aligned, we should be able to have a deal and I am hopeful we can achieve that this week.”
The negotiating teams are expected to find a compromise on the fishing and level playing field disputes within days.
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But very little time will be left for a deal to go through the ratification process with votes expected in both the UK and European Parliaments over the coming weeks.
Fishing alone contributed just 0.03 percent of British economic output in 2019 but is seen as a staple industry in the UK which needed to be preserved.
Combined with fish and shellfish processing, the sector makes up 0.1 percent of UK GDP.
Britain wants “zonal attachment” to agree a total allowable catch for the UK waters.
This, Downing Street says, would be a step that would give it a much larger quota share than if the fish maths were worked out on the EU’s proposals of an increase of 18 percent of the UK’s current share.
Reflecting on today’s talks, European Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie, said: “We’re fully concentrated on the Brexit negotiations right now.
“If contingency measures are needed, they would be limited and tailored to the existing very specific circumstances, and would be adopted in time to ensure that we are fully prepared for the first of January.”
Mr Barnier made clear there were “reasons for determination” as he set off from his hotel for Monday’s trade talks.
But Downing Street said the UK’s negotiating position would not be changed despite calls for a compromise.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said this afternoon: “We want to try and reach a free-trade agreement as soon as possible.
“But we have been clear that we won’t change our negotiating position and we have been clear what that position is.”
The spokesman said that “although there has been some progress” the two sides remained at odds over fisheries and the level playing field.
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