21:06 GMT31 October 2020
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    LONDON (Sputnik) – More than three-quarter of UK businesses (77 percent) want the United Kingdom and the European Union to reach a post-Brexit trade deal, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said on Sunday, ahead of the ninth and final round of bilateral talks which is due to begin in Brussels next week.

    The CBI said in a statement that only four percent of the 648 business owners surveyed between August 26 and September 15, said they prefer a no deal scenario.

    "Next week Brexit talks enter the eleventh hour. Now must be the time for political leadership and the spirit of compromise to shine through on both sides. A deal can and must be made," CBI Director-General Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said, as quoted in the statement.

    According to Fairbairn, businesses face a "hat-trick" of unprecedented challenges: rebuilding from the first wave of COVID-19, dealing with the resurgence of the virus and preparing for significant changes to the UK’s trading relationship with the EU.

    "A good deal will provide the strongest possible foundation as countries build back from the pandemic. It would keep UK firms competitive by minimising red tape and extra costs, freeing much needed time and resource to overcome the difficult times ahead," she added.

    The EU-UK talks on the post-Brexit deal have seen a deadlock after London announced it seeks to override some parts of the withdrawal agreement with Brussels, including the controversial Internal Market Bill that would allow the UK to roll back some of the commitments on state aid and customs checks on goods entering Northern Ireland.

    Prior to the presentation of the bill early in September, both sides had clashed multiple times over fishing quotas, the arbitration of legal disputes, and the so-called level playing field, the set of common rules and standards that prevent unfair trade competition.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set 15 October as the deadline for both parties to reach a post-Brexit agreement, otherwise, he said, the UK will abandon the talks and "move on."

    The United Kingdom left the European Union in January but remains under the current EU trade terms. However, if no trade deal is secured before the so-called transition period expires on 31 December, the World Trade Organization's rules for both parties will come in effect starting 2021, including customs tariffs and full border checks for UK goods entering the EU.

    European Union, Brexit, United Kingdom
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