LONDON (AA) – Boosting the chances of a trade deal with the EU, Britain will drop articles of an internal market bill which contradict the UK Withdrawal Agreement, the British government announced on Tuesday.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said “agreement in principle” on all issues in UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee was reached following a meeting with European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic.
Gove’s announcement does not mean an overdue UK-EU trade deal is reached yet, but is a positive development in terms of agreeing on one.
“In view of these mutually agreed solutions, the UK will withdraw clauses 44, 45 and 47 of the UK internal market bill, and not introduce any similar provisions in the taxation bill,” a Cabinet Office statement said.
The articles, related to rules to be followed in Northern Ireland, have been viewed as contradictory to the withdrawal agreement – an international agreement signed by the UK and the EU after long negotiations.
The announcement came hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that talks between the UK and the EU were “looking very, very difficult at the moment” ahead of his meeting with EU leaders later this week.
Johnson’s visit to Brussels is seen as a last-minute effort to reach a post-Brexit trade deal between the sides before the transition period expires on Dec. 31.