UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that people and businesses should get ready for the prospect of no post-Brexit trade deal being agreed between the UK and European Union.
The deadline of mid-October set by Boris Johnson for a deal being agreed with the EU has now passed, with no signs of a deal being agreed imminently.
In a statement delivered from Downing Street on Friday (16 October) following the conclusion of the EU Summit in Brussels, Mr Johnson said that he had concluded that “we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade”.
The Prime Minister claimed that the EU “have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months”, saying that the bloc wants to have a continued ability to “control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country”.
The United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31 this year following the signing of the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK is currently in a transition period – during this time, it remains part of the EU customs union and single market.
The main difference during the transition period is that the UK is no longer part of the EU’s political institutions such as the European Parliament and the European Commission. During the transition period, the UK follows the EU’s rules but does not have any voting rights to take part in decision-making processes in the EU.
The transition period is due to end on December 31 this year. Without a trade deal in place, the UK will have to trade under World Trade Organization rules, which many fear will be damaging to businesses due to tariffs and extra regulatory checks at borders.
The Prime Minister has suggested the country is not completely walking away from negotiations yet, indicating that a deal may be possible if the EU has a “fundamental change of approach”.
Mr Johnson has urged people to “embrace the alternative” (ending the transition period with no-deal) with “high hearts”. He added, “we will prosper mightily as an independent free-trading nation, controlling our own borders, our fisheries, and setting our own laws.”
To learn more about Brexit and to find out what a no-deal scenario may mean, check out our recent guide here.