UK still a long way from agreeing EU trade deal, negotiator says

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister's Europe adviser David Frost arrives for a meeting to address the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak, at Downing Street in London, Britain March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is quite a long way from agreeing a free trade deal with the European Union and will at some point have to prioritise its preparation for leaving the bloc without a deal, its chief negotiator said on Thursday.

“We are quite a long way from the broad outline of an agreement that we hoped to be at at this point,” David Frost told a select committee in the House of Lords. “I hope we can make some constructive process at the next round.

“At some point (we will have a) need to provide maximum certainty to businesses and economic operators about what is going to happen at the end of the year. At some point prioritising readiness for the end of the year will loom larger than the negotiating process but we’re not at that point at the moment.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison