After the latest round of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union over post Brexit deals yielding little results, both the parties have urged that each one should conceded some ground in the negotiations for r a trade deal to make it happen or risk exiting a no deal.
Even though the UK had formally exited the EU on January 31, the current transition period of one year still has the main terms of its membership. The transition period lasts till end of the current year. The transition period is expected to be used by the both parties to arrive at a trade deal.
If there is a no-deal Brexit, it would cause upheaval in global trade by the end of the year even as the global economy would be trying to get out of the recession sparked by the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, the two parties have not had fruitful negotiations.
“We made very little progress towards agreement on the most significant outstanding issues between us,” UK chief negotiator David Frost said after a week of talks.
The main points that have till now stalled over the so-called “level playing field” rules for harmonizing regulation, which, according to the EU, are needed to ensure that the UK does not undercut its standards. The UK has rejected this clause because it says that it will have the effect of abiding by RU laws.
The insistence of the EU to enforce a number of “novel and unbalanced” proposals on the level playing field has been the main obstacle to achieving a deal, Frost said.
“As soon as the EU recognises that we will not conclude an agreement on that basis, we will be able to make progress,” Frost said. “We very much need a change in EU approach for the next round beginning on Jun 1.”
There was complete refusal by the UK to even participate in full conversation about a level playing field and fisheries during the third round of talks that was “very disappointing”, said EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
“There will be no agreement with the UK without a balanced agreement on fisheries and a proper, balanced agreement on level playing field,” Barnier said.
There was little chance of a deal this year, he said. “We will not bargain away our values for the benefit of the British economy,” he said.
He further alleged that the UK negotiators were not being able to adequately consider the consequences of its own Brexit choices with respect to gaining access to the sought after single market of the EU. The UK needs to concede some ground or there would be “a stalemate” in the talks, he said.
Both the UK and the EU are slated to conduct review of progress in talks made so far and then come to an agreement to extend talks which has been refused by London.
(Adapted from ChannelNewsAsia.com)