BRUSSELS (AP) — The top negotiators of the European Union and recently departed Britain sought a belated renegotiated deal Friday on how trade in Northern Ireland should be dealt with amid signs that increasingly acrimonious relations could lead to a trade war.
On top of the dispute on how to smooth the trade in goods in the UK’s Northern Ireland, where the complicated Brexit deal has left the region also in the EU’s single trading zone, both sides are fighting over symbolically important UK fishing licenses off France.
The U.K.’s post-Brexit negotiator David Frost was meeting with his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic on Friday. He said entering the luncheon meeting that even though Britain was looking for a solution to the issues at hand, a step that in practice could lead to a trade war was still on the cards.
“The gap between us is still quite significant,” Frost said. “Time is running out.”
He said that suspending the parts of the Brexit agreement under the so-called Art. 16 procedure “is very much on the table and has been since July.”
Analysts say it would only be a small step from such a suspension to a full-blown trade war.
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