UK, EU ‘very distant’ on fish deal as France takes hard line

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Britain and the EU are still “very distant” on reaching a Brexit deal on fish, a minister said today.

Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis accused Brussels of blocking progress on the issue as chief negotiators on both sides held new talks in London.

“We are looking to negotiate a framework agreement on fisheries with the EU,” she told Parliament in an update on UK fisheries plans next year.

“This is proving to be a difficult negotiation and the positions of the UK and the EU are very distant, mainly because the EU has not yet accepted the implications of our future status as an independent coastal state.” She said new “fishing frameworks” had been agreed with Norway and the Faroe Islands.

France has taken a particularly hard line on the fish in the Brexit negotiations, with President Emmanuel Macron even signaling that he is ready to see a no-deal rather than make major concessions. and the issue is not expected to sabotage a deal.

Arriving in London last night for talks, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said: “I think we have a huge common responsibility. Every day counts. ”

The main obstacles remain the fishing rights, the governance of any agreement and the “level playing field” aimed at preventing unfair competition. The end of the transition period is December 31, and both sides had said an agreement should be reached in mid-October in order to allow time for ratification.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss today signed the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in Tokyo. During a ceremony, Ms Truss said: “How fitting it is to be in the land of the rising sun to welcome the dawn of a new era of free trade.”

The Labor argued that the net profit of the deal would be 0.07 percent of GDP.

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