August 9, 2016 | BY: JENNIFER RANKIN
The UK could strike a trade deal with the European Union within two years but will struggle to win concessions on free movement of labor, according to one of Britain’s most experienced trade negotiators.
Roderick Abbott, a former EU ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, thinks the UK might conclude a trade deal with Brussels in 24 months – a faster timetable than estimated by some European leaders, who have warned of talks stretching on for five years or more.
Abbott spent four decades of his career immersed in trade policy. He told the Guardian that an UK-EU trade deal could be done in two years because negotiators would soon have to tackle the crucial question of how to balance access to the single market against the EU’s demand for free movement of people.
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