The United Kingdom remains hopeful of concluding a Brexit trade deal with the European Union, Business Secretary Alok Sharma told Sky News on Wednesday.
"I hope that we will end up with a free trade agreement. We have made progress but there is still some way to go and we need to make sure that the EU understands that the UK is a sovereign nation and that's the basis on which our arrangement with the EU is in the future", Sharma said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously stated that Britain would prosper even without a post-Brexit trade arrangement with the EU.
Britain's chief negotiator, David Frost, who travelled to Brussels on Sunday to continue the talks, said there remained some "significant elements" that were yet to be agreed. According to The Sun citing an unnamed government source, Frost told Johnson that a post-Brexit trade deal could be expected early next week.
The UK left the EU on 31 January, but as part of the withdrawal agreement, both sides entered an 11-month transition period to negotiate their future commercial relations.
If no trade deal is secured before the year’s end, World Trade Organisation rules will come into effect starting in 2021, including customs tariffs and full border checks for goods crossing the English Channel.