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Seventh round of EU-UK negotiations to begin today


Seventh round of EU-UK negotiations to begin today

UK EU Reuters
Photo: Reuters

The seventh round of EU-UK negotiations will commence today in Brussels. The four-day event will build upon month-long negotiations on a comprehensive future trade deal before the current transition period expires on January 1.

Today’s talks will centre on regulations regarding fair competition and fisheries, two of the most contentious topics since the commencement of negotiations. Brussels has insisted that London adopt EU-based level-playing-field restrictions. These would include commitments to high product standards and restrictions on state aid to UK exporters that compete with European firms.

As a soft October deadline rapidly approaches with little recent progress on core issues, the pressure to reach an agreement will once again be amplified. Earlier this month, diplomats indicated that Brussels could be prepared to compromise on both state aid and fishing negotiations. The most likely solution on fair competition is a bilateral dispute-settling arbitration panel to rule on any UK state aid that could unfairly undermine European competitors, in lieu of the highly stringent state aid regulations proposed by the EU.

If Brussels’ willingness to compromise is legitimate and matched by London, today’s negotiations could serve as a breakthrough towards further progress when London hosts the next negotiation round in September.

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