UK ready to leave EU on ‘Australia terms’ if no Brexit deal, says PM Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly debate at Question Time in Parliament in London, Britain, on June 24, 2020, in this screenshot taken from the video. Parliament TV / Reuters TV via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will be ready to give up its transition agreements with the European Union “in terms of Australia” if no agreement is reached on their future relationship, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki Saturday.

Britain left the block on January 31. A transition period, during which Britain remains in the European single market and customs union, expires on December 31 and pressure increases to agree to a free trade agreement before then.

With the two sides still widely separated, a round of “intensified negotiations” will begin next week.

“He (Johnson) said the United Kingdom would negotiate constructively, but would still be ready to leave the transition period in terms of Australia if an agreement were not reached,” Johnson’s Downing Street office said in a statement.

Australia does not have a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU. Much of EU-Australia trade follows the predetermined rules of the World Trade Organization, although there are specific agreements for certain goods.

Estelle Shirbon’s Reports; Editing by Alex Richardson

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