Trade

Berlin says a standard EU-UK trade deal can be done in 2020

Germany is optimistic that the EU and U.K. can negotiate a limited free-trade agreement by the end of 2020, as long as both sides stick to a standard template, a senior government official said today.

“We have already shown that you can negotiate a lot in a short time if you set yourself clear goals,” the official told reporters during a briefing in Berlin.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out asking for an extension of the standstill transition period that is due to follow the U.K.s mooted EU exit date of January 31 — giving negotiators until December 2020 to reach a trade deal.

This will be “possible” as long as the U.K. sticks to a model of existing EU trade deals and does not demand specific exemptions, the German official said.

“As far as the trade agreement is concerned, I believe it is evident that what is known in Brussels as an off-the-shelf agreement — in other words a standard agreement that has already been negotiated in another context — can be negotiated relatively quickly with the United Kingdom,” he said.

“The more the negotiating partners are of the opinion that they must deviate from the standard in this particular case … the longer it takes,” the official warned.

He added that such a standard agreement might be limited because “you cant negotiate all questions in this relatively short timeframe.”

A senior diplomat from another EU country also said today it was “feasible” to have “at least a basic” trade agreement with the U.K. by the end of next year, while noting there will not be sufficient time for a big, complex deal.

Both the notion of a standard agreement, as well as its limited nature, clash with Johnsons goal of negotiating an Read More – Source

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