United Kingdom says trade deals won't be ready by Brexit day

Posted February 22, 2019

At Thursday's meeting, sources say Mr Barnier had never seemed so "agitated" about the danger of no-deal, so concerned that that prime minister is "reluctant to pivot" away from her own red lines.

She hopes a legal assurance that the Irish backstop will not be indefinite will be enough to secure parliamentary approval for her deal.

He added: "It should be a major ongoing strand of our work, continuing at pace during the Implementation Period - one in which I hope and expect the European Union will take an active part". Highlighting the risks, Fitch Ratings said it may cut the U.K.'s AA credit score, citing the economic disruption a no-deal departure could cause.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will meet Barnier on Thursday, while officials in both Brussels and London have played down talk that an EU-Arab League summit in Egypt this weekend could become a "Brexit in the desert" meet, insisting the issue would not hijack the gathering.

Senior diplomats said last night Brussels was likely to accept additions to the agreement but any changes would fall short of putting a time limit on the backstop or giving Britain a unilateral exit from it.

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The Pound is still on course for a near-double-digit loss against the Dollar as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, according to strategists at BMO Capital Markets, who say recent political events do nothing to change their view that this is the most likely outcome from the saga playing out in parliament.

But "continuity agreements" have so far only been agreed with seven of the 69 countries and regions with which the European Union has trade deals: Switzerland, Chile, the Faroe Islands, Eastern and Southern Africa, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. "I'm losing my time with this Brexit", he said.

Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said they are "seized of the tight timescale" facing them after holding "constructive" Brexit talks.

"We can get this deal through parliament, if we can have a deal where the attorney general can change his advice to parliament". May has been seeking revisions because Parliament have refused to approve the deal on Britain's exit from the EU.

With the clock running down, businesses have said they have been left with no choice but to start enacting emergency measures to cope with a no-deal scenario, KPMG said on Sunday.

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When asked by the BBC what would happen next week, Hammond said: "There may be an opportunity to bring a vote back to the House of Commons - there may be an opportunity, but that will depend on the progress that is made in the next few days".

If talks this week go according to plan, May's team hopes to put a revised Brexit deal to a binding vote in Parliament early next week-and before February 27, United Kingdom officials said.

"It was agreed that talks should now continue urgently at a technical level".

The backstop arrangements would see the whole of the United Kingdom remain in a customs union with the EU and Northern Ireland following some single market rules until a wider trade deal is agreed, in order to prevent the need for checkpoints on the Irish border.

The statement from Juncker and May said they discussed possible "alternative arrangements" and changes to an accompanying political declaration as potential options.

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