Britain and the European Union appeared close to clinching a long-elusive trade agreement on Wednesday, Reuters is reporting.
A senior British government source said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was poised to sign a trade deal with the EU, after media reports said the agreement had already been done, just over a week before Britain completes its final journey out of the bloc.
However, there has been no official confirmation from either side that the months of negotiations have reached a conclusion.
A British government source was cautious, saying: “Negotiations are ongoing.”
One senior EU diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a provisional application of the deal with effect from Jan 1 would need to be approved by all member states because there was now not enough time for the European Parliament to ratify it.
Much earlier in the day, British Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said two significant issues – fishing and competition – still remained to be resolved and that there had not been sufficient progress for a deal.
However, a French official told Reuters that the British had made “huge concessions” in key negotiations over the past 48 hours, mostly on access to fishing in its waters.
The pound sterling rose on news of the possible deal.