Britain and the EU have planned trade negotiations by October 2, less than two weeks before a summit at which the bloc wants to approve an agreement with London on a schedule published by UK negotiators on Friday and Friday reported by Reuters.
More than four years after the British voted to leave the EU and after protracted divorce talks, both sides will be negotiating all aspects of their future relationship from 2021, from trade to security to transport.
The EU has stated that negotiators must seal each agreement by October to allow ratification by the bloc's 27 nations. The EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has since signaled room for a certain slip.
"The rounds of negotiations will take place in August and September, unless otherwise agreed between the parties," said a document published on Twitter by Brexit chief British negotiator David Frost.
The other three scheduled rounds would end on October 2, before the summit of 27 EU leaders will take place on October 15 and 16.
If the two sides fail to reach an agreement by then, it would likely trigger high-level emergency calls to get a deal through the line before the end of the year when the UK transition ends.
A split without provisions to mitigate the effects of Brexit would be the most harmful option for both the world's fifth largest economy and its largest trading bloc.
Differences in catch quotas and fair competition guarantees have been an obstacle to an agreement so far, but EU sources have been more positive over the past few weeks that an agreement should be in time.
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