Brexit: PM confident UK ‘will prosper’ without EU trade deal

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  • EU-UK post-Brexit trade talks

image copyrightReutersimage captionBoris Johnson says the UK will "prosper" without a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU

Boris Johnson has reiterated he is "confident [the UK] will prosper" outside the EU if a post-Brexit trade deal is not agreed with the bloc.

Talks began again in Brussels on Monday, with the UK's chief negotiator saying there had been "progress in a positive direction" on a deal.

But Lord David Frost said "significant elements" are yet to be agreed.

His EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, said he wanted "future cooperation to be open but fair" with the UK.

Tweeting as talks started, he added: "We remain determined, patient, respectful."

Sticking points between the two sides focus on competition rules and state aid for businesses, as well as fishing rights.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said there was still a "very, very wide gap" on fishing, with no progress on the issue since the summer.

He told RTE: "Until we can find a way of doing that, there isn't going to be an agreement."

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The UK left the EU on 31 January, but continues to follow the bloc's rules until the end of the year while negotiations take place.

Any deal between the UK and EU would need to be ratified by parliaments on both sides, so time is running out for an agreement to be reached and to get the sign off before 31 December.

If there is no agreement at that point, trade between the two will default to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules – with tariffs set to be introduced on many imports and exports, which could push up costs.

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