Trying to bridge gaps but no post-Brexit trade deal most likely, says UK PM’s spokesman

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a news conference about the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in London
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference about the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, inside 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, December 16, 2020. Matt Dunham/Pool via REUTERS

December 17, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – British negotiators are still trying to bridge gaps in trade talks with the European Union but ending a transition period without such an agreement remains the most likely outcome, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said again on Thursday.

He said negotiators had worked late into the night on Wednesday and resumed talks this morning.

“They remain there to work to bridge the gaps that remain,” he told reporters. “An Australia, WTO (World Trade Organization) exit remains the most likely outcome which is why we are planning for that eventuality but we remain committed to trying to reach an FTA (free trade agreement) if possible.”

Australia does not have a trade agreement with the EU and the bulk of the trade between the two is under WTO rules.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, editing by Estelle Shirbon)