Trade deal with EU still possible but ‘not easy to achieve’ – Number 10

A post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union remains possible but “it is clear that it will not be easy to achieve”, Downing Street has said.

Britain and the EU remain deadlocked in their talks on future trade ties, with just four months until the transition period ends.

Informal Brexit talks between negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier were taking place in London on Tuesday, ahead of the eighth round of formal negotiations next week.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We will continue to work hard to reach an agreement and look forward to the next round (of talks) next week.

“We believe an agreement is still possible and it is still our goal but it is clear that will not be easy to achieve.”

Asked if there was any possibility of an extension to the transition period, the spokesman replied: “No.”

“I think the EU continues to insist that we must agree on difficult areas in the negotiations, such as EU state aid, before any further work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts … that makes it very difficult to make progress,” he said.

“We would instead like to settle the simplest issues first in order to build momentum in the talks as time is short for both sides.”

The spokesman also confirmed that the Government is in the “final stages” of post-Brexit trade deal talks with Japan.