Brexit: France warns UK of bitter trade negotiations

France has warned Britain to expect a bruising battle with the EU in post-Brexit trade negotiations.

Brexit

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian predicted the two sides would “rip each other apart” as they strove for advantage in the negotiations.

He also said it would be tough for the UK to achieve its aim of agreeing a free trade deal by the end of the year.

The UK government said it wanted a deal based on “friendly co-operation between sovereign equals”.

Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator is expected to give more details of the UK’s negotiating aims in a speech in Brussels later.

David Frost is expected to say the UK will be happy with a trade deal based on that agreed by the EU with Canada in 2016 but to rule out any form of regulatory alignment with the bloc from 2021 onwards.

The UK formally left the EU two weeks ago but still trades like a member under a transition period which ends on 31 December.

Talks on their future relationship are set to begin next month once the EU’s 27 members have agreed the bloc’s negotiating mandate.

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