Britain and the European Union (EU) will work intensively to bridge gaps in fisheries, the level playing field, and governance in order to reach a post-Brexit trade deal, a Downing Street spokesperson said on Saturday.
The spokesperson made the remarks following a phone conversation between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The two leaders acknowledged "significant gaps remained" when they were speaking about the state of play in the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship and they agreed on the importance of finding an agreement, if at all possible, as a strong basis for a strategic EU-UK relationship in future, the spokesperson said.
"They endorsed the assessment of both chief negotiators that progress had been made in recent weeks but that significant gaps remained, notably but not only in the areas of fisheries, the level playing field, and governance," the spokesperson said.
"They instructed their chief negotiators to work intensively in order to try to bridge those gaps," the spokesperson said.
Both sides concluded their ninth round of trade talks in Brussels on Friday, with state subsidy and fisheries, remain two sticking points. Britain and the EU have said a future trade deal needs to be agreed by mid-October to enable it to be approved ahead of January 1, 2021.
Both sides started the lengthy and bumpy post-Brexit talks in March after Britain ended its EU membership on January 31, trying to secure a future trade deal before the Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year. If there is no deal in place, Britain will trade with the EU on terms of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
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