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UK will not agree to EU right to use retaliatory tariffs, says negotiator

Britain will not agree to any European Union proposal which gives the bloc the right to respond with tariffs to changes in British law following Brexit, chief negotiator David Frost said on Thursday.

Britain and the EU have intensified talks to find a trade deal that will replace the ties severed by Brexit, but with only a few months until a deal needs to be reached, the two sides remain far apart. A transition arrangement expires at the end of the year.

The next round of talks begins on Monday and will be held face to face for the first time since the coronavirus epidemic. Frost said they would be focused on whether “genuine and rapid progress” could be made.

“The government will not agree to ideas like the one currently circulating giving the EU a new right to retaliate with tariffs if we chose to make laws suiting our interests,” he tweeted.

“We could not leave ourselves open to such unforeseeable economic risk.”

Brussels has in recent days floated the possibility that existing regulations on state aid could be used as the benchmark for future common standards.

That idea has been interpreted by some as a signal that if Britain deviated from those standards, the EU could retaliate with tariffs, although an EU official dealing with Brexit dismissed the idea of such tariffs.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, writing by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper and Stephen Addison)

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