It looks very much as though Boris Johnson is pushing along with his Brexit plans and is not expecting to ask for any extension beyond the end of the year. As such the United Kingdom will most certainly leave the single market and EU customs union on December 31

As the trade negotiators from Britain and the EU embark on their fourth round of negotiations today politicians from neither London nor Brussels expect to see a breakthrough anytime soon.

Meetings are currently continuing by video link but once the latest cross-Channel video conferences are over, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the new EU chief Ursula von der Leyen will meet to decide how to proceed further.

Unfortunately key disagreements still remain to any trade deal with the UK wanting a simple trade deal that is tariff free. The EU, however, want an all-encompassing agreement which they say will establish a level playing field.

This would give British firms access to most — but not all — of the benefits of the single market, without exposing their European rivals to attempts to undercut standards.

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier says failing to reach agreement will have consequences — which “will be added to the already very serious consequences of the coronavirus crisis”

He told The Sunday Times that the two sides have a “joint responsibility” to head off any potential disaster.

A British spokesman said, “We expect the round to be constructive and to keep the process on track ahead of the high-level meeting later this month.”

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