Brexit minister: UK will strike trade deal ‘parallel’ to Article 50 process
LONDON — David Davis, the U.K.’s Brexit minister, conceded the British economy will fall off a “cliff edge” if it leaves the EU without a trade deal — but insisted trade negotiations will be conducted in parallel to Article 50 discussions and be completed by the time Britain leaves the bloc.
Taking questions in the House of Commons Thursday, Davis was pressed by a Labour MP on businesses’ concerns that Britain may leave the EU and single market two years after triggering Article 50 and have to fall back on WTO trade rules, with potentially disastrous economic consequences.
How is the government going to avoid that, Davis was asked by the opposition, when European leaders have said they won’t negotiate a trade deal at the same time as Britain’s exit?
“Some of them have said that, but that was some while ago and they are now starting to read what Article 50 actually says,” Davis said.
“And Article 50 implies parallel negotiations and that’s what we will do. Because [the MP who asked the question] is quite right, we need to conclude this within the two years to avoid the cliff edge.”