Brexit Talks on Future Trade Relationship to Begin Next Week

(Bloomberg) -- European Union and U.K. officials will start talking next week for the first time on what the post-Brexit trading relationship might look like, according to an EU official.

With just a year to go until Britain leaves the bloc, it will be the first time negotiators sit down to compare positions on how close ties can remain after Brexit. The two sides start off far apart on what kind of deal is possible: The EU has rejected the U.K.’s proposals as cherry picking the best bits of EU membership and the U.K. says the EU is being too inflexible.

The sessions will also cover the still unresolved issue of the Irish border and other parts of the divorce agreement that remain to be settled, according to the official, who declined to be named as the agenda hasn’t yet been published.

The U.K. has long been pushing to start trade talks and Brexit Secretary David Davis said on Thursday that he wants a detailed agreement on trade before exit day. He said otherwise it will be hard for parliament to approve the divorce deal -- and the financial settlement that’s part of it.

But EU officials have said there’s not enough time for a full agreement and the bulk of the trade negotiation will be done once the U.K. has left. Both sides are aiming for the divorce deal to be settled by the end of October so there’s time for both parliaments to ratify it.

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