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UK chief negotiator David Frost said Britain’s assessment is that a “Brexit agreement can be reached with the European Union in September” ahead of the round of negotiations with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier next week.
Mr Frost, added: “As we keep saying, we are not looking for a special or unique agreement.
“We want a deal with, at its core, an FTA like those the EU has agreed with other friendly countries, like Canada.
“The UK’s sovereignty, over our laws, our courts, or our fishing waters, is of course not up for discussion and we will not accept anything which compromises it – just as we aren’t looking for anything which threatens the integrity of the EUs single market.”
50 British officials will travel to Belgium on Tuesday in an attempt to close gaps such as European boats’ access to UK fishing waters after Brexit.
An EU source close to the negotiations said that both sides “moved closer together but we see this round as laying the foundations for future breakthroughs.”
Desribing the negotiations, the source added: “Imagine two fencers sizing each other out or two fighters shadow-boxing before the real engagement begins.”
Another EU source added that this round was about “building confidence and seeing how we can build towards the final compromise in later rounds.”
Deadlocks also still remain on the level playing field guarantees including state aid which is a seen as a tight issue in Brexit neogiations.
The UK however has hinted that it could accept the future relationship with the EU being governed by a single treaty.
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8:15am update: Reassurances needed that NI goods shipped via Ireland will not face Brexit tariffs
Northern Irish farmers have asked for assurances that meat exports from Northern Ireland which are shipped through Dublin Port to customers in Britain will qualify for “unfettered access” after Brexit.
The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has said that up to 50 percent of red meat destined for the UK market goes this way.
The UK government has made a commitment that Northern Ireland goods will face no barriers when being shipped to the UK after the Brexit transition period
However, the UFU claims that this does not extend to produce shipped via the Republic of Ireland.
Union President Victor Chestnutt, said: “Produce is shipped through Dublin as it’s the only route that is feasible for meeting just-in-time requirements.
“There are important outstanding questions as to how unfettered access to the UK internal market can be delivered via Dublin.”
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