Thank you for contacting me about the coronavirus outbreak and leaving the transition period without a free trade agreement.
I understand your concerns as the outbreak of the coronavirus has been difficult for business owners across the UK as well as Europe.
Negotiations continued during the outbreak and have now intensified. The Government is seeking to negotiate a friendly relationship with the EU which reflects our status as an independent sovereign state and which is based on free trade. It is looking for a Free Trade Agreement based on precedent and similar to those the EU has already reached with other countries, such as Canada.
Differences remain because the EU has so far asked for the UK to stay bound to its laws and rules in many areas. This is not something I believe the UK can accept. I feel that it is important that the EU recognises this. Once it does, progress will be able to be made.
As you will be aware, the deadline for agreeing an extension to the transition period has passed. This means that the UK will leave with either a Canada-style free trade agreement or on the terms of the 2019 deal. The 2019 deal will give a trading relationship similar to the one Australia enjoys with the EU. Either way we will be leaving the single market and customs union, and delivering on the result of the referendum in 2016.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue.