Brexit: UK negotiator signals some progress in trade talks

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: The UK Chief Negotiator David Frost walks towards Westminster conference centre ahead of the afternoon session of talks on November 10, 2020 in London, England. The Brexit transition period is due to end on December 31st, after which the two parties will trade on World Trade Organisation terms - triggering tariffs on many goods - if a deal is not reached. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The UK Chief Negotiator David Frost walks towards Westminster conference centre ahead of the afternoon session of talks on November 10, 2020 in London, England. The Brexit transition period is due to end on December 31st, after which the two parties will trade on World Trade Organisation terms - triggering tariffs on many goods - if a deal is not reached. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The UK’s top Brexit negotiator signalled progress in trade talks on Sunday morning, as he headed into meetings.

David Frost said on twitter there has been “some progress in a positive direction in recent days.”

“We also now largely have common draft treaty texts, though significant elements are of course not yet agreed. We will work to build on these and get an overall agreement if we can. But we may not succeed,” he continued.

The UK set a deal deadline for 15 November, but Brussels views the EU summit video conference on 19 November as a deadline for a draft deal.

Brexit talks have continued to trot on in the background over the last two weeks.

But, while UK prime minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have stepped in to facilitate negotiations. The two sides are still deadlocked on “significant differences” such as fisheries and a level playing field.

British and Irish ministers said on Sunday there has to be a breakthrough in talks this week as the 31 December deadline for the end of the transition period fast approaches.

READ MORE: Week ahead: Brexit drags on, COVID-19, UK and US retail sales

Around $1tn (£758bn) in trade is on the line as import tariffs and tougher rules loom.

The deadline also comes as nations struggle to contain the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK has been particularly badly hit, with death tolls seeing their biggest jump since May this weekend.

British environment secretary George Eustice told Sky News on Sunday: “This needs to be a week when things move, when we break through some of these difficult issues and get a resolution and at least have some sort of headlines, if you like, of an agreement.”

Watch: What happens if no Brexit trade deal is struck?