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Britain and EU trade standoff goes to the wire

Contributor: Tom Rogan

Photo Credit: Rocco Dipoppa - Unsplash

Britain and the European Union remain deadlocked as they pursue a post-Brexit trade agreement. Both sides are talking with increased urgency, facing a year-end deadline.

Three major issues are at contention: the measure of any post-deal EU fishing access to British waters, Britain's future trading relationships with other nations, and the enforceability of remedies for any breaches to an agreement.

The EU fishing concern is relevant in that British waters are home to some of the most lucrative fishing stocks in Europe. EU politicians do not want to see their domestic fishing interests lose access to these waters. Britain sees it differently. One of the primary motivations of many pro-Brexit voters during the 2016 national referendum was their understanding that Brexit would see restored sovereign authority. The joined symbolic-economic interest of control over waters makes this a particularly powerful political interest in certain Conservative Party-held parliamentary seats. Prime Minister Boris Johnson cannot easily afford to alienate these members of his party if he is to succeed in his overarching ambition of establishing longer-term Conservative control over the government.

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