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Mr Bridgen explained the UK is the EU’s biggest trading partner as it takes 70 percent of its exports. He claimed that the bloc is “scared” of the prospects of the UK economy outdoing them in the future. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Bridgden said: “We’re the EU’s biggest trading partner, 70 percent of all their exports come to us.
“If the EU won’t do a straightforward free trade deal similar to the ones they’ve done with Canada and Japan that says more about the EU’s confidence in themselves and their confidence moving forward.
“They can’t do a straightforward deal, they’ve got to hamstring us with their regulations because they’re scared of the prospects of the UK economy out-competing them in the future.
“That’s what we’re going to do.”
He added: “We’re offering the EU tariff and quota-free trade with their biggest customer.
“We buy €100billion off them, more than we sell to them so we are the customer.
“The fact that they won’t accept that as a super Canada deal.
“The EU is putting strings attached where they want us to agree to all their regulation now and in the future.
“That shows complete insecurity by the EU’s confidence in their own future.”
His comments come as a senior EU official said on Monday it “may be too late already” to put in place any trade deal with Britain before its informal membership of the European Union expires at the end of this year if Brexit negotiators seal a deal this week or next.
Ireland, the EU state most exposed to Britain’s exit from the EU, said earlier in the day that Britain and the bloc had up to 10 days to unlock talks to prevent sudden tariffs and quotas from eating into an estimated trillion dollars worth of annual trade in just over six weeks.
“They haven’t quite reached where they had hoped to be,” one of EU diplomats following Brexit said as talks between the bloc’s negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart, David Frost, resumed in Brussels.
A senior EU diplomat, also speaking under condition of anonymity, added: “Britain has choices to make.”
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A third EU diplomatic source said: “One cannot say things haven’t moved, since the negotiators are writing a legal text together. So there is some movement. But also way to go still.”
“The (issues of) level playing field, governance and fisheries are pending. As are serious decisions to be taken by the UK.”
While Brexit negotiators were still looking for mutually acceptable solutions to the three most contentious issues, the senior EU official said it might already be too late for the necessary ratification by the European Parliament even if Brexit negotiators nail down a deal this week or next.
“It’s getting terribly late and may be too late already,” said the official, adding that the 27-nation EU would decide next steps once Barnier and Frost produce a deal, if at all.
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