On November 26, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier began to lay out his plans for negotiating a new trade deal with the United Kingdom. First and foremost, he raised his concern that if the UK should successfully withdraw its membership of the EU on 31 January, only 11 months are left to negotiate the trade deal. Based on the time required for other third country trade deals, 11 months is alarmingly short – a concern which was echoed in outgoing Commission President Juncker’s Politico playbook article this morning – but the EU will do its best to have a deal prepared for the end of 2020. Barnier briefed MEPs on the outline of trade talk schedules with the UK, sharing that the two parties will have to focus initially on core trading arrangements, such as quota-free, duty-free trade in goods, as well as a priority on security and defence. Issues beyond the scope of the free trade agreement, however, such as concluding an agreement on aircraft take-off and road haulage, could take longer. He went on to warn the UK that it must agree to maintain a ‘level playing field’ and not undercut EU regulation to secure an agreement. In the event that the UK does leave on 31 January, Barnier hopes to receive a mandate from Member States in February to begin trade negotiations on 1 March. To read more, please click here.
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