Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Trade deal will not meet deadline for UK leaving EU, say businesses

Some of the leading figures in British business have told Sky News it is "impossible" to imagine a trade deal being done within the deadline for the UK to leave the European Union.
Justin King, the former chief executive of Sainsbury's, said he didn't think "there's any possibility at all" of a deal being done, "not to any level of detail or quality".

Frances O'Grady, Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, told Sky News it was "extremely optimistic" to think that a deal could be done by the end of March 2019, while Meurig Raymond, head of the farmers' union, predicted that it could take until the end of the next Parliament for a deal to be done.

Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoons pubs and an outspoken supporter of Brexit, was another to say that a deal was not feasible in the time-frame, suggesting it would be better to walk away from negotiations and instead switch to the terms of the World Trade Organisation.

The Government's negotiations over a trade deal are one of the most crucial elements of Brexit talks, covering topics as varied as the price of milk, what counts as a home-built car and where bank loans can be agreed.

A deadline is supposed to be agreed by the end of March 2019 - two years after the triggering of the Article 50 process.

However, many within British business told us they were dubious about this deadline being met. That would mean the Government having to make a choice between walking away from talks without a deal, or else agreeing to extend talks for longer - a so-called "transitional period".

SKY     News.