Brexit, once hailed as a grand natural experiment for economists to dissect the repercussions of leaving a low-friction trade environment, has proven messier than anticipated.
During a meeting with the new European Commission (EC) chief Ursula von der Leyen, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday will stress on the importance of Britain and the European Union (EU) to reach a trade deal by the end of the year.
The meeting will be held in 10, Downing Street, the BBC reported.
Once the UK leaves the EU on January 31, the two sides will begin talks on their future economic relationship.
PM Johnson has insisted a deal is possible by the end of 2020 and the process will not be extended.
After its proposed exit, the UK will enter into an 11-month transition period in which it will largely follow EU rules but will not have any representation in the bloc’s institutions. This period will come to an end on December 31.
Earl in the day, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said that the UK and EU had agreed in the political declaration to do a trade deal by the end of this year and they were “confident” they will do that, the BBC reported.
Von der Leyen, a former German Defence Minister, took over from Jean-Claude Juncker at the start of December.
Besides meeting Johnson, she will also set out her vision for future UK-EU relations in a speech at the London School of Economics.
UK has an option to extend the transition but Johnson refuses to, and intends to enshrine the 2020 date in legislation, PM Johnson’s office said.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc would “do the maximum” to try to agree on a new partnership by the 2020 deadline, and avoid a highly disruptive “no-deal” divorce.
After Johnson claimed huge victory, European leaders will charge EU negotiator Michel Barnier with negotiating a close trade deal with Britain.
A landslide Conservative win would mark the ultimate failure of opponents of Brexit who plotted to thwart a 2016 referendum vote through legislative combat in parliament and prompted some of the biggest protests in recent British history.
Johnson was re-elected Prime Minister following his landslide victory in the December 12 general election, deemed as one the UK’s most decisive and crucial.
In December, US President Donald Trump invited PM Johnson to visit him in the White House in the new year.
Johnson is reluctant to make the visit before delivering Brexit on Jan. 31 and would prefer to go after a cabinet reshuffle scheduled in February when he is expected to appoint cabinet office minister Michael Gove as his new trade negotiator.
(With inputs from agency)