Explainer: What Britain and the EU have to sort out to get a trade deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain and the European Union have said they will intensify negotiations on reaching a comprehensive agreement on the terms of their future relationship.

FILE PHOTO: European Union and British flags flutter in front of a chancellery ahead of a visit of British Prime Minister Theresa May in Berlin, Germany, April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

Below are the four main areas where negotiators still have to overcome differences before a Brexit transition period, which began when Britain quit the bloc, runs out at the end of this year.


Though Britain left the EU on Jan. 31, the main terms of its membership will remain in place until the end of the transition period. But from the start of next year, it will no longer be bound by the EU’s rules on state aid for companies and the bloc’s environmental or labour standards.

If Britain allows these standards to deteriorate or does not keep up with evolving EU rules, British companies selling to the bloc will have what EU officials see as an unfair competitive advantage over their EU rivals bound by the costly regulations.

If British firms are to have easy access to the bloc’s market, the EU says Britain must commit to sticking to similar standards as the EU has.


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