Brexit: Trade deal ‘may not succeed’ before year end

LONDON (AP) – The United Kingdom’s (UK) chief Brexit negotiator said on Sunday before renewed talks that a trade deal with the European Union (EU) may not succeed, but he was still hopeful of a resolution.

Arriving in Brussels, David Frost tweeted that “there has been some progress in a positive direction in recent days.”

“We also now largely have common draft treaty texts, though significant elements are of course not yet agreed,” he said. “We will work to build on these and get an overall agreement if we can. But we may not succeed.”

Britain left the EU on January 31, but continues to follow the bloc’s economic rules until a transition period ends on December 31. The two sides are trying to strike a new trade deal before then, but key sticking points such as fishing rights and competition rules haven’t been resolved.

The two sides said any post-Brexit deal must be agreed upon by mid-November in time for it to be ratified by year-end.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the coming week is “a week when things need to move” for the UK and the EU to come to an agreement.

“Both sides recognise that time is very, very short,” he said. “There does come a point frankly where businesses need to know what they are preparing for.”