U.K. to Restart Brexit Trade Talks with European Union

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Economy4 hours ago (Oct 21, 2020 12:36PM ET)

© Bloomberg. Boris Johnson departs from a weekly meeting of cabinet ministers in London on Oct. 20. Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The U.K. agreed to resume trade talks with the European Union less than a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspended them.

Intensive negotiations will begin on Thursday afternoon in London and happen every day, U.K. Chief Negotiator David Frost said in a Tweet on Wednesday.

The decision came after the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, moved on Wednesday to address three British complaints, telling lawmakers in Brussels the EU would acknowledge the U.K.’s sovereignty, change its negotiating approach, and start work on the detailed text of an accord.

“We are ready to welcome the EU team to London to resume negotiations later this week,” a spokesperson for Johnson’s office said in a statement after the two sides’ chief negotiators spoke on Wednesday. “We have jointly agreed a set of principles for handling this intensified phase of talks.”

READ: Brexit Talks Set to Restart With Aim of Deal by Mid-November

The pound was on course for its largest daily gain since March at the end of the London session, while the yield on 10-year gilts rose five basis points to 0.24%.

Negotiations are expected to last for about another three weeks, officials said, but they cautioned there are still significant disagreements between the two sides.

“It is clear that significant gaps remain between our positions in the most difficult areas, but we are ready, with the EU, to see if it is possible to bridge them in intensive talks,” Downing Street said.

If the EU and the U.K. fail to reach a trade agreement, consumers and businesses will face the cost and disruption of tariffs and quotas in just 10 weeks’ time.

(Adds Frost comment starting in second paragraph.)

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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