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EU, UK enter tension-filled week seeking post-Brexit deal

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Valdis Dombrovskis, a European Commission vice-president, said yesterday: 'The negotiations are ongoing with great intensity because we are now in the final push to reach agreement.

It appears the situation was relatively under control since the United Kingdom side said none of their negotiators needed to self-isolate that members of the team would be traveling back to Britain as they usually do.

It was apparently made clear that the two sides are very close to agreement in nearly all areas apart from the three which have long prevented major progress being made.

The UK's chief negotiator David Frost has said that the health of the British and European Union (EU) negotiating teams "comes first", as both sides have chose to suspend their post-Brexit talks after one member tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

"I do hope that in the future, as Canada is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership ... that we will be able to go much further and build a much deeper relationship with Canada", she told legislators.

'It seems that we are very close to agreement on most issues but differences on the three contentious issues persist'.

European Union and United Kingdom leaders have expressed their optimism that a post-Brexit agreement is within reach, although plenty of work remains to be done as the chief negotiators were forced to postpone high-level talks due to Covid.

"Within the frame of the level playing field, progress for example has been made with state aid, but there are still quite some metres to the finish line so there's a lot of work to do".

Future trade negotiations will be carried out via video conference until it is deemed safe to resume them in person. Barnier said on Twitter that the two sides will continue their work "in full respect of guidelines".

Mr Barnier tweeted: 'Update: one of the negotiators in my team has tested positive for COVID-19. The health of our teams comes first.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "We are discussing with [the Commission] the implications for the negotiations".

A Johnson spokesman said that in less than two years, the government had signed or agreed in principle trade agreements with 52 countries, accounting for 142 billion pounds ($187bn) of British bilateral trade. The latest round of talks was taking place in the Belgian capital.

They now plan to bring many of these back with the threat of an "accidental" no deal still on the cards, according to an European Union source.

The two sides have been meeting in Brussels with time running out to reach a deal before the Brexit transition arrangements expire at the end of the year.

When there's absolutely no deal, companies on each side of the English Channel will face tariffs and other obstacles to trade beginning on January 1.

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