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Minister says UK to ‘survive and thrive’ even without a post-Brexit trade deal but insists an agreement is 90% complete

Minister says UK to ‘survive and thrive’ even without a post-Brexit trade deal but insists an agreement is 90% complete
The British culture secretary has said the government is prepared for a no-deal Brexit but he maintains there is still “a significant possibility” that an EU-UK trade agreement can be clinched by the negotiators.

Speaking on Friday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Sky News that the UK is set to “thrive” with or without a post-Brexit trade deal, but admitted the immediate future might be “choppy.” 

Dowden highlighted the outstanding areas of disagreement, EU access to UK fisheries and state aid, but insisted London was right to push back on these issues. 

“We're pretty much 90 percent of the way there, but there are these two areas which are outstanding and which no reasonable prime minister could accept,” he noted, echoing the words of PM Boris Johnson. 

The cabinet minister reiterated that the EU would need to make concessions in these two areas by Sunday if a deal is to be done. 

“And, as we leave the EU, we should be free to set our own rules and regulations and not face penalties if the EU changes their regulations and we don't match them,” he added. 

Also on rt.com EU announces contingency measures for no-deal Brexit, including a demand for continued access to UK fisheries

Following Johnson’s dinner meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday evening, the PM has struck an increasingly pessimistic tone.

Speaking on Thursday, he said there was now “a strong possibility” Britain and the EU would fail to strike an agreement over trade. 

The EU also announced contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit on Thursday, including the proposal that European fishermen should have continued access to British waters if the UK walks away from the negotiating table without an agreement. 

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