U.K. Says Brexit Trade Talks Are at a ‘Very Difficult Point’

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The U.K. warned Brexit trade negotiations are at a “very difficult” juncture, as intensive talks continued in London in an effort to secure a breakthrough.

The atmosphere surrounding the negotiations worsened on Thursday night after British officials accused the European Union of introducing new demands at the eleventh hour.

“We are at a very difficult point in the talks,” Boris Johnson’s acting deputy spokesman Shaun Jepson said on a call with reporters on Friday. “Time is in very short supply.”

The pound curbed gains briefly before rising 0.2% to $1.3474. The currency has been whipsawed by Brexit headlines this week as the Dec. 31 deadline nears.

The trade talks have been building to a climax in recent days, with negotiators working around the clock and hopes of an imminent breakthrough. Talks broke up after 11 p.m. in London on Thursday night and resumed again on Friday morning.

Jepson declined to give details of the reasons why the talks are now in the balance. He said any Brexit deal would have to respect Britain’s key principles of “sovereignty” and regaining control of its laws and borders.

“Our negotiating team is working extremely hard to bridge the gaps that remain,” Jepson said. “Time is now very short.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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