Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Tory minister says he's "very confident" that an EU trade deal will be reached by 2021
21 December 2019, 09:46
The Conservative MP told Andrew Pierce that its "very clearly in black and white" that both the UK and the EU will work towards a free trade agreement.
Andrew Pierce asked Nadhim Zahawi: "How confident are you, because the EU have expressed some scepticism, that there can be a ready-cooked, an oven-cooked, whatever you want to call it trade deal with the EU by the end of the transition period on December 31st?"
Zahawi said that he was "very confident".
He continued: "If you look at the political declaration that accompanies that withdrawal agreement, this is the what I describe as a 'heads of terms', if you want to call it that, it actually says in there that both sides have already signed up to that we will both together work to deliver a free trade agreement by December 2020.
"That's in there very clearly in black and white. The other thing it says in there is that we will both, the European Union, the 27 countries and the United Kingdom will want to work towards a free trade agreement with no tariffs and no quotas.
And of course, remembering that, you know, for the past 40 years, we've been pretty much aligned with the European Union."
Zahawi then said: "So this is not like us doing a trade deal with a part of the world where we don't have all these advantages in place already.
"That's why I'm very confident that we'll be able to do a trade deal by December 2020. A very good, and healthy trade deal with our European neighbours and partners.
And I think we can then move forward and do other trade deals as well with the rest of the world with countries like Australia and of course America and elsewhere."