04:53 GMT25 January 2021
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    French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned the UK's Brexit negotiating team that it will not be easy for them to hash out a free trade deal with the EU in the coming months.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has however repeatedly stated that he is willing to walk away from the bloc under WTO rules, should no formal arrangement be in place by the end of 2020.

    But just how will the situation pan out? Political commentator Mitch William gave his views on the matter.

    Sputnik: Will the UK be able to agree on a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU?

    Mitch William: I think the EU needs to re-think their position, as at the moment they seem to be gearing up for continued free movement and access to British fishing waters, but I think they need to understand that Brexit means leaving all EU institutions and diverging from all EU rules and regulations.

    A large part of the referendum was fought on immigration, and the free movement of people was a deciding factor, and the proposed continued access to British fishing waters would be massively unpopular throughout the UK, and this is currently being resisted by the UK government.

    A woman holds up the Union and the European Union flags during an event called Brussels calling to celebrate the friendship between Belgium and Britain at the Grand Place in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020
    © AP Photo / Francisco Seco
    A woman holds up the Union and the European Union flags during an event called "Brussels calling" to celebrate the friendship between Belgium and Britain at the Grand Place in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020

    Sputnik: Who would be more damaged by a potential no-deal Brexit; the UK or the EU?

    Mitch William: If we can't have a reasonable negotiation, with people willing to give a bit here and there; we may very well end up leaving the EU under WTO terms by the end of the year.

    At the moment roughly speaking, fifty-three per cent of all UK imports come from the EU, and roughly forty-five per cent of UK exports are sent to the EU, so in the event of a no-deal Brexit and heading to WTO terms, I think it would be mutually damaging.

    To be honest, I think at this point both parties need to just accept the reality of Brexit and engage in constructive talks in order to deliver the best possible outcome for everybody.

    Sputnik: How would the British public react if Boris Johnson delivered a soft Brexit?

    Mitch William: At the moment; the UK has already secured twenty trade deals in over fifty territories. The Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders and many more are eager to secure trade arrangements with the UK as soon as possible.

    I don't think Boris Johnson is going to cave in to Brussels. Caving in would jeopardise the full potential of Brexit, and then risk the UK being subordinate to the EU, and the whole scenario, the whole referendum, would have just been a pointless endeavour, so I can’t see him caving in, and I think he’s going to relish the challenge.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Tags:
    Boris Johnson, trade deals, trade deal, United Kingdom, no-deal Brexit, Brexit, Brexit, European Union, EU
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