Third round of UK-EU trade negotiations concludes

The third round of trade negotiations between the UK and the EU will today come to a close. This phase

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a British fishing boat

Photo: Duncan McGlynn/AFP

The third round of trade negotiations between the UK and the EU will today come to a close.

This phase has focused largely on fishery issues, competition law and law enforcement cooperation. The two camps’ priorities are divergent. While the UK is focused on settling a core trade deal with separate agreements for key domestic economic areas of energy and aerospace, the EU wants an all-encompassing deal with specific stipulations defining fishery boundaries in the English Chanel and North Sea and competitions rules. These conflicts are unlikely to be resolved as both parties decry the other’s intransigence. Future negotiation decisions, including whether to extend the deadline past December 31, are to be decided at a larger summit this June.

This phase of trade negotiations is a small part of the larger post-Brexit discussions that will define the new relationship between the UK and the EU, and failure to reach an agreement could further delay or kill any larger deal. The inability of the parties to settle their disputes increases the likelihood of a no-deal situation come December. It will take months to draft and ratify a trade deal, meaning that a failure to reach decisions now could see the UK could exit the EU without any sort of trade agreement, greatly harming the British economy.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.