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The UK will be very “content” to trade on WTO terms if no deal is reached with the EU before the transition period deadline, Lord David Frost has confirmed. The UK’s Chief Negotiator was addressing the House of Lords’ European Union Committee with Michael Gove regarding the talks. Mr Frost was questioned over when he thought the Brexit negotiations would finish.
He told the committee: “We are working very hard to get an agreement and would obviously prefer to have one.
“But obviously if we can’t reach an agreement, we’ll be content to trade on Australia terms.
“We believe we’ll prosper very much if we do so.
“But we are working very hard to try to get there.”
Lord Frost continued: “As for the time scale, I would refer you to the Prime Minister’s statements that he made on September 7, setting out some of the constraints, in our mind, about the process.
“I don’t think there’s much I could add at the moment to what he said on September 7.
“It’s obviously very important to bring certainty to our many stakeholders about what is going to happen at the end of the year and under what terms.
“My job is just to work as hard as we can over the next two weeks to see if we can get an agreement in place by the 15th.”
Boris Johnson offered his own ultimatum to negotiators at the start of September.
Then the Prime Minister stated that a post-Brexit trade deal must be agreed by October 15.
He said: “If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.”
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In an effort to bolster talks once more, Mr Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen had a call this week regarding the developments.
They have now approved a further month of negotiations.
Both leaders urged their teams to intensify discussions in the coming weeks.
EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and Lord Frost are holding a round of talks in London.
Then there will be a follow-up in Brussels the week after.
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