HomeInsightsGovernment publishes statement on round two of UK-EU negotiations on the future relationship

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Following the second round of negotiations, which took place between 20 and 24th April 2020 by videoconference, a UK Government spokesperson said that “limited progress was made in bridging the gaps between us and the EU”.

It was a “full and constructive negotiating round”, and covered “a full range of discussions across all the issues”.

The UK’s assessment is that there was “some promising convergence” on a Free Trade Agreement and related issues such as energy, transport, and civil nuclear cooperation. However, the spokesperson said: “We regret however that the detail of the EU’s offer on goods trade falls well short of recent precedent in FTAs it has agreed with other sovereign countries”, which “considerably reduces the practical value of the zero tariff zero quota aspiration we both share”.

The spokesperson also noted that there are “significant differences of principle” in other areas, such as the so-called “level playing field” and the governance provisions, on which no progress will be made “until the EU drops its insistence on imposing conditions on the UK which are not found in the EU’s other trade agreements and which do not take account of the fact that we have left the EU as an independent state”.

On fisheries, the spokesperson said that the EU’s mandate appears to require the UK to accept a continuance of the current quotas agreed under the Common Fisheries Policy. “We will only be able to make progress here on the basis of the reality that the UK will have the right to control access to its waters at the end of this year.”

The spokesperson concluded by saying that the UK “remains committed to a deal with a Free Trade Agreement at its core”, and that the UK looks forward to negotiating constructively in the next round beginning on 11 May 2020. To read the statement in full, click here.

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