Brexit: Door 'still ajar' for European Union trade talks, says Gove

Brexit: Door 'still ajar' for European Union trade talks, says Gove”

Senior minister Michael Gove said Sunday the door remained "ajar" for an overarching trade deal to remove much of the uncertainty if the European Union shifts position, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson declaring last week he was ready to abandon talks.

"We now wait for the U.K.'s reaction", he tweeted.

The Internal Market Bill has been approved by the House of Commons but faces strong opposition in Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords, where the governing Conservative Party does not have a majority.

Mr Gove said the United Kingdom was preparing for a range of outcomes, including leaving on what he described as "Australian terms", which would see trade between the two partners default to World Trade Organization rules.

"This should be enough to focus minds".

But Gove on Sunday left room for talks to agree on a deal so that the United Kingdom can avoid the high trade tariffs it faces from December 31, when the transition period ends.

If passed, the bill will allow the British government to override parts of the legally binding Brexit withdrawal agreement relating to trade with Northern Ireland, the only part of the share a border with the EU.

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The bloc sees it as a flagrant breach of an worldwide treaty that could undermine the delicate foundations of Northern Ireland's peace settlement, created by the 1998 Good Friday accord.

"We believe this would create a disastrous precedent", said the letter, signed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who heads the Church of England, and four other archbishops. The two sides have been trying to strike a deal on trade and other relations before then, but months of talks have been stalled on the issue of fishing and rules to ensure fair competition.

While some suggested the bill was originally conceived as a negotiating tactic, other sources cited by the outlet maintained that ministers would agree on the need for additional guarantees to water down the most controversial powers in the bill in the event that progress is made in talks. British business groups warn that could mean border delays, soaring prices and shortages of some goods.

If Britain were to leave the European Union at the end of the year without a specific agreement on its trading relationship, firms would be faced with new tariffs and quotas on top of the additional red tape, raising the costs of imports and exports.

The government has launched a campaign telling businesses that "time is running out" in order to prepare for Brexit.

Gove said Sunday that the United Kingdom is "increasingly well-prepared" for a no-deal Brexit, which could disrupt supply chains across Europe, worsening the coronavirus-induced recession. "So this is deeply challenging for many businesses".

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