UK trade minister Liam Fox says EU pushing Britain to no-deal Brexit | News | DW | 05.08.2018
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UK trade minister Liam Fox says EU pushing Britain to no-deal Brexit

UK trade minister Liam Fox has accused the European Union of pushing Britain toward an exit from the bloc without a trade deal. He said Brussels was obsessed with EU rules, rather than focusing on economic well-being.

Britain's international trade secretary, Liam Fox, has put the odds of the UK leaving the European Union without agreeing terms to formally finalize its exit at 60-40.

"I think the intransigence of the [European] Commission is pushing us toward no deal," he told British newspaper The Sunday Times in an interview published late Saturday.

"We have set out the basis in which a deal can happen but if the EU decides that the theological obsession of the unelected is to take priority over the economic well-being of the people of Europe then it's a bureaucrats' Brexit — not a people's Brexit — [and] then there is only going to be one outcome," he said.

Fox was clear that "confronting the EU with the risks of no deal was part of the government's strategy," reported The Sunday Times. "I think it's essential that no deal looks credible to the EU," he said.

Fox has just returned to the UK from a trade mission to the United States and Japan as Britain tries to launch negotiations on post-Brexit trade agreements with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Read more: Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron meet for 'informal' talks

Infographic: Brexit Timeline

No-deal Brexit

If the UK fails to agree the terms to formally finalize its exit in March 2019, it would revert to trading under World Trade Organization rules. Tariffs and customs checks would likely be placed on UK exports to the EU, and vice versa. Many economists think this would cause serious harm to the world's fifth largest economy.

Brexit supporters say some short-term pain is to be expected, but in the long-term they believe the UK will prosper when cut free from the EU.

On Friday, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the chances of a no-deal Brexit had become "uncomfortably high."

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