U.K. Could Agree on ‘Mini Deals’ With EU If Trade Talks Fail

U.K. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said that Britain and the European Union could engage in a series of “mini unilateral” deals if no trade agreement is reached by the end of the month.

Gove said that Britain and the bloc’s 27 member states could form a new “special relationship” after the end of the transition period, close to the U.K. and U.S. link, which could include agreements he described as “side deals,” the Telegraphreported. Any trade agreement is “realistically unlikely” to be approved until after Christmas, meaning that lawmakers may only vote on a potential deal just hours ahead of the end of the transition period, he said.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Gove said that like any set of neighbors, there will be conversations between the U.K. and EU member countries “choosing to make unilateral decisions that will make life easier for one or the other side and it may be that those unilateral decisions are reciprocated,” the newspaper reported.

People familiar with both sides of the negotiations told Bloomberg that the trade talks are unlikely to wrap up on Sunday, but should do so before Christmas as disagreements over fishing remain the key obstacle. European countries with large fishing industries are resisting any further concessions proposed by the European Commission. Nevertheless, officials from both sides said the gap can still be bridged.

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