22:30 GMT22 February 2020
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    As the UK is about to finalise its divorce from the European Union, British officials are also currently preparing for long and contentious talks with the remaining 27 member states, as well as some non-European nations, over the future of mutual trade agreements.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could threaten the European Union, the United States, and other countries with high tariffs as “leverage” to pressure the nations to conclude trade deals with Britain, The Times has learned.

    The strategy of threatening trade partners with high tariffs in order to accelerate trade talks was allegedly discussed by Boris Johnson and his cabinet ministers who agreed during a meeting of the EU exit strategy committee on Thursday that the proposal should be put up for consultation.

    The move could potentially result in taxes of 10 percent on cars from Germany and 30 percent on some types of French cheese, while several countries, such as Japan, the US, Australia and New Zealand, will reportedly be prioritised and marked as “tier one” states during trade talks.

    Downing Street hasn't commented on the report so far.

    Britain, which is finally set to leave the European Union after three years of negotiations on 31 January, is expected to continue discussions over trade conditions and agreements in the course of an 11-month transition period, until 31 December. According to the newspaper, Britain’s trade negotiation plan will be announced by Boris Johnson in the first week of February.

    Brussels earlier suggested that London could benefit from zero tariff trade with the bloc if stays tied to EU regulations, an option that was rejected by Boris Johnson, who pledged to break away from the bloc’s rules.

    On Thursday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a trade deal between the US and Britain would be “an absolute priority for President Trump” and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, while citing comments by UK Chancellor of the Exchequers Sajid Javid that both American and EU trade deals were desired to be struck this year, despite a tight and “aggressive” deadline.

    European Union, United States, Sajid Javid, Steven Mnuchin, Boris Johnson, United Kingdom
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