UK and Ghana to miss Brexit trade deadline, but deal close - source

LONDON, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Britain and Ghana are close to announcing an agreement on post-Brexit trade but a deal will not fall into place in time to prevent a period of trading on default terms, a source close to the negotiation said on Thursday.

The deal, once active, will replicate the terms of trade Britain previously benefitted from as a member of the European Union. EU trade rules will cease to apply to Britain from Jan. 1 when it completes its exit from the bloc.

Ahead of that deadline Britain has signed “continuity” agreements with 63 countries to safeguard terms on 885 billion pounds ($1.21 trillion) of trade, including partners like Canada and Switzerland.

But with no prospect of a deal being reached in time for Ghana, imports will temporarily be subject to Britain’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences - a framework that applies import tariffs at reduced rates on developing countries.

Britain’s exports to Ghana would continue to be subject to World Trade Organisation tariffs.

The two sides were expected to reached consensus on the main elements of a deal soon and would look to translate that into a full deal as quickly as possible, the source said, although there was no firm timeframe for its implementation.

Official data shows Britain exported goods and services worth 722 million pounds to Ghana in 2019, and imported 498 million of goods - mostly oil, fish, cocoa and fruit.

The government will publish legislation implementing all its continuity trade agreements later on Thursday, accounting for 97% of the trade it sought to protect. Other deals still outstanding include Albania and Jordan. ($1 = 0.7324 pounds) (Reporting by William James; Editing by Angus MacSwan)