EU is expected to approve today the negotiation mandate on future relationship with UK after the Brexit transition period. It’s widely believed that EU will guard against any distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages as the basis of tariffs and quota free trade agreement.

France’s Europe Minister Amelie de Montchalin said that “we can have an agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas if we can be sure … we will have common norms …regulatory proximity on the basis of EU rules.” And, “If we cannot maintain this regulatory proximity, then we must … apply tariffs or quotas,” she said. “It’s not a position of revenge, it’s an economically rational position.”

The time frame to complete a deal by year end is seen as extremely challenging by EU officials. German Europe Minister Michael Roth warned “this is an extremely ambitious timetable.” “The time pressure is immense, the interests are huge, it’s a very complicated treaty, so it will be very hard work.”

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UK, on the other hand, is expected to publish its own negotiation guidelines on Thursday. It’s believed that the economic and political independence will remain the primary bottomline in the talks.

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