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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it’s “very likely” his government will secure a trade deal with the European Union before his year-end deadline, despite a looming battle over fishing rights.
The premier said he would prepare for failure just in case talks on the future trading relationship between Britain and the EU collapse, but insisted that’s not what he expects.
His comments came after the European Commission warned that a trade agreement this year must include a fisheries accord -- setting up a clash with Johnson’s administration.
“You always have to budget for a complete failure of common sense -- that goes without saying -- but I’m very, very, very confident,” Johnson said. “This is about building a great new partnership.”
The U.K. is set to leave the EU on Jan. 31, but will remain subject to exiting European laws and trade regulations during a transitional period lasting for the rest of the year.
During this time, negotiators from both sides will be working to reach agreement on the terms of the future trading and security relationship and Johnson has said he will not extend the transition phase into 2021.
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