Von der Leyen: Significant differences on trade deal remain

Monday, 09 Nov, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday strove to bury differences with president-elect Joe Biden as he stressed the enduring UK-US alliance and a future partnership against climate change.

"They agreed to remain in personal contact about the negotiations", the statement said.

In a joint statement, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, president of the European Council, which represents the leaders of EU member states, said: "We take note of the latest development in the electoral process".

"Our transatlantic friendship is irreplaceable if we want to overcome the great challenges of our times", she said in a tweet issued by a government spokesman.

"Some progress has been made, but large differences remain especially on level playing field and fisheries", von der Leyen said in a Tweet.

After months of talks on a deal to protect trade between the two neighbours from possible quotas and tariffs, the two sides have yet to close significant differences on at least two main sticking points.

Ross added that there were no issues prompting each of the negotiating teams to say, "I'm putting down my pencil", even though the sides are still at odds over agricultural standards after four rounds of talks.

The prime minister has said he believes there is "a deal to be done" and "very much hopes" to come to an agreement, but he has insisted the country was "very well prepared" to move on should the two parties not be able to agree a deal.

Mr Biden's team have made it clear that as the USA was one of the original guarantors of peace in Northern Ireland, there will be no trade deal if the Good Friday agreement is jeopardised.

Both the EU and United Kingdom have previously indicated that November 15 is the very last moment a deal can be done if it is to be ratified by their respective parliaments before the post-Brexit transition period ends on December 31 and the United Kingdom formally leaves the European single market.

"So I think there's far more that unites us than divides us".

"There's a deal there to be done but if not, the country is very well prepared", he told British broadcaster Sky News on Friday.

Mr Raab, speaking on Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday, said he was "excited" to be collaborating with the new U.S. administration.

The Foreign Secretary added he believed the UK Government would be able to ally American fears and navigate the Irish border issue to satisfy allies in the United States following president-elect Joe Biden's victory.

The president-elect, who has Irish roots, has in the past warned that there will be no USA trade deal for Britain if Brexit-related legislation planned by the UK's Government undermines Northern Ireland's 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Britain is pursuing trade deals around the world after leaving the European Union in January, to try to project Johnson's vision of a "global Britain", but talks with the United States have slowed over the last few months.