06:51 GMT28 February 2021
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    The United Kingdom is unlikely to become a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as an alternative to securing a special UK-EU post-Brexit trade deal, the former Scottish National Party (SNP) deputy leader, Jim Sillars, told Sputnik on Thursday.

    EDINBURGH (Sputnik) — He added that a working alternative to the long-term delay was just to leave the 28-nation bloc and to use the norms of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for trade relations between London and the European Union.

    "The alternative to a genuine free trade deal, such as exists with Turkey, is not EFTA because I could not see the EFTA states accept the UK due to its size. It would completely unbalance the organisation," Sillars said.

    On June 23, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. Soon after the referendum, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that the country would trigger the Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty by the end of March 2017, thus kick-starting withdrawal negotiations.

    The EFTA is association that brings together Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which are not the EU member states, but have an access to the EU single market. A number of UK politicians, including the ones of the SNP, have expressed an opinion that London could maintain its trade relations with Brussels within the framework of the EFTA.

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    Tags:
    Brexit, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Scottish National Party, World Trade Organization (WTO), Jim Sillars, United Kingdom
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