Germany’s ambassador to the European Union said on Tuesday a chance remains for a new trade deal with the UK to come together by the end of the week, while Ireland’s foreign minister saw some progress in the difficult talks.
“It’s not over yet. There are still a few days ahead of us,” Germany’s ambassador to the EU Michael Clauss told a panel discussion organised by a Brussels think-tank. “There is still a chance for a deal by the end of the week.”
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, said that “we have to be ready for both outcomes.” But he told state broadcaster RTE: “Because the negotiating teams have gone really quiet here, there are no briefings out to the media, that’s an indication to me that there’s a serious, if difficult negotiation continuing.”
Coveney said he understood that “some progress” is being made on “fair competition and a level playing field around for now and in the future” and on fisheries — the crunch issues that have seen Brexit talks stall for months.
London and Brussels have several days left to negotiate a new deal covering nearly £670 billion in annual trade before the UK leaves the EU’s single market at the year’s end.
Deutsche Bank strategist Shreyas Gopal gave an optimistic assessment of the talks — which have already missed several deadlines – saying in a note to clients: “A deal is firmly more likely than not, with the risks tilted towards full resolution by the end of the week.”
But British PM Boris Johnson said again on Tuesday that the most likely outcome of trade talks was no deal. Speaking with ministers, the PM “reiterated any agreement must respect the independence and sovereignty of the UK,” according to his spokesman.
Johnson also “made clear that not being able to reach an agreement and ending the transition period on Australia-style terms remained the most likely outcome,” the spokesman said, adding that the UK leader is still committed to “continuing to negotiate on the remaining areas of disagreement.”
Meanwhile, Britain and Mexico signed a deal on Tuesday to keep trade flowing on existing terms after the UK leaves the EU’s common trade policy, Trade Minister Liz Truss said.
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