Wednesday, 19 June, 2019


United Kingdom and Switzerland strike a deal on post-Brexit trade

The European Commission led by Jean Claude Juncker asked member states to 'refrain from bilateral agreements or discussions with the UK' United Kingdom and Switzerland strike a deal on post-Brexit trade
Bennie Garza | 12 February, 2019, 00:03

Bowing to pressure from his party, Corbyn appears to have endorsed a plan by pro-EU Labour lawmakers that would stop May running down the clock and offering parliament the last-minute stark choice of leaving without a deal or voting for her unpopular withdrawal agreement.

Prime Minister Theresa May will pledge this week to give parliament another chance to voice their opinions on Brexit by February 27 as she tries to buy more time to negotiate a new deal with the European Union.

Meanwhile, the British parliament is preparing for a Brexit debate on Thursday in which amendments to May's deal are expected to be tabled.

The EU and the Irish Government have insisted that the backstop is the best way of guaranteeing there will be no hard border in Ireland.

His remarks to reporters came after talks with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

May's hopes of cobbling together a majority were boosted on Monday as the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said he would be willing to accept a deal with a time-limited backstop.

"We are absolutely clear on this: we're not considering Jeremy Corbyn's customs proposals, we're not considering any proposals to remain in the customs union".

"I think that you would need to have a time limit".

About 12 percent of Britain's trade was now covered by European Union free trade deals, and Switzerland accounted for about a fifth of that, he said.

"Whatever route MPs choose over the next few weeks - no deal, Theresa May's deal, a softer Brexit or delay - all roads will probably lead to an early election", he wrote in Britain's The Sunday Times.

In her letter, Mrs May rejected Labour's demand for the United Kingdom automatically to follow European Union rules on workers' rights and environmental protection.

The wording of May's motion on Thursday, asking Parliament to back her negotiation, will be closely read.

Together with a group of Labour backbenchers encouraged by promises of fresh guarantees on workers' rights and environmental standards, May hopes she can win over enough MPs to pass her deal.

Labour's Brexit policy chief Keir Starmer told the Sunday Times newspaper that his party would seek to use the debate in parliament this week to prevent May from waiting until the last minute to come back with a deal, and compel her to present a fresh accord for lawmakers to consider before February 26.

The PM said she wanted the Tory and Labour teams to consider "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but its relations with Britain are based on a long line of bilateral agreements between Bern and the bloc.

Liam Fox's trade department has secretly admitted to some of Britain's biggest businesses that the 40 free trade deals the minister promised to have ready by Brexit day are "unlikely" to materialise.

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