SEVERE WX : Freeze Watch View Alerts

Why Britain won't have a trade deal before Brexit

The European Union confirmed Friday that it's ready to start the second phase of Brexit talks.EU officials con...

Posted: Dec 15, 2017 3:43 PM
Updated: Dec 15, 2017 3:43 PM

The European Union confirmed Friday that it's ready to start the second phase of Brexit talks.

EU officials congratulated Prime Minister Theresa May. But any celebrations are likely to be short-lived.

Phase two of the talks promises to be much harder than the first -- a point underscored by German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- and analysts say it's highly unlikely that Britain can negotiate a free trade deal with the EU before it leaves the bloc.

Here are three reasons why:

1. Britain still needs to decide what Brexit means

Britain has yet to figure out what kind of relationship it wants with the EU, its biggest export market, once it has left.

May has said that the U.K. will leave the EU's internal market and customs union on March 29, 2019. But beyond those red lines, little has been settled.

Britain must decide whether it wants to negotiate continued easy access to EU markets or accept barriers to trade.

Both scenarios come with risks and consequences that are likely to upset factions within May's Conservative party.

Related: The CNNMoney Brexit jobs tracker

Settling on a preferred course of action has been made more difficult by the fact that her cabinet, which has different views on what the "end state" should be, has yet to debate the issue in detail.

The EU called on Britain to "provide further clarity on its position on the framework for the future relationship."

2. Trade talks won't start until March 2018

Europe also said Friday that it will not finalize its negotiating guidelines on a future trade relationship until March.

That leaves very little time to talk.

A deal settling the divorce, as well as the framework for future trade, security and other relations needs to be drafted by October in order to give the EU enough time to ratify it before the Brexit countdown clock runs down.

U.K. lawmakers are also demanding a vote on the deal before Brexit takes effect.

Can a major free trade agreement be negotiated in eight months? Experts say it borders on the impossible.

3. Trade deals are very hard

Trade talks are difficult under the best of circumstances, and comprehensive deals can take years to thrash out. A free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, which included some service industries, took seven years.

The remaining 27 EU states will have different priorities when it comes to trade, and will face an intense backlash from labor unions and businesses if their interests are not protected.

Related: EU and Japan free trade deal covers 600 million people

"I have no doubt that the real test of our unity will be the second phase of the Brexit talks," European Council President Donald Tusk said Thursday.

Britain has its own priorities: It will seek to minimize trade barriers in key sectors of the economy, such as financial services, autos and aerospace.

The EU has signaled that it's open to negotiating an agreement like the one it has with Canada. Davis is even more ambitious, saying he wants "Canada plus plus plus."

Related: Why Britain needs the immigrants it doesn't want

Given the very slim chance of a new trade deal being ready by March 2019, Britain will need a transition period after Brexit that will avoid businesses having to adjust to new rules and regulations twice.

May has asked for an "implementation period" of two years, but many businesses say they need at least three.

Europe is ready to discuss such a transition, but only if Britain is willing to accept all EU law -- including new laws passed during that period -- and EU judicial oversight.

Meanwhile, Britain won't have a say in any new EU rules.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 59°
Florence
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 60°
Fayetteville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 61°
Decatur
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 59°
Scottsboro
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 162720

Reported Deaths: 2735
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson24088384
Mobile17166319
Tuscaloosa10641142
Montgomery10576205
Madison961998
Shelby766067
Baldwin688871
Lee666965
Calhoun480663
Marshall450051
Etowah444553
Morgan442835
Houston426535
DeKalb357929
Elmore329258
St. Clair313843
Limestone300333
Walker290293
Talladega277737
Cullman271925
Lauderdale243743
Jackson228218
Autauga214131
Colbert212532
Franklin210732
Blount203925
Russell19993
Chilton192632
Dallas189427
Dale186252
Coffee185111
Covington178729
Escambia176031
Clarke139117
Tallapoosa138587
Chambers138147
Pike137014
Marion111831
Barbour10569
Marengo105322
Butler102041
Geneva9597
Winston95313
Pickens90018
Lawrence89933
Bibb86615
Randolph85316
Hale78330
Cherokee76915
Clay76712
Washington75912
Henry7366
Lowndes72328
Monroe66310
Bullock65117
Crenshaw61630
Fayette60413
Perry6026
Cleburne5819
Conecuh57313
Wilcox57212
Macon55020
Lamar5255
Sumter48721
Choctaw39512
Greene34616
Coosa2193
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 259488

Reported Deaths: 3341
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby37618571
Davidson32908350
Knox1330196
Rutherford12485116
Hamilton12251111
Williamson749657
Sumner6439117
Wilson495064
Putnam463859
Montgomery442861
Out of TN430436
Sullivan410052
Madison392780
Washington387758
Bradley372923
Maury363039
Blount355441
Sevier353423
Robertson270243
Hamblen256950
Tipton250123
Dyer236338
Unassigned23047
Gibson223449
Coffee201428
Hardeman193933
Greene192755
Obion186527
Anderson184816
Bedford180522
Trousdale17949
Dickson179119
Fayette177427
Lawrence173220
McMinn172939
Carter172136
Cumberland169827
Loudon169713
Wayne16237
Jefferson162224
Weakley161926
Monroe153629
Warren152011
Lauderdale150717
Roane14478
Hardin144423
Henderson144326
Macon138425
Franklin135124
Haywood133428
Hawkins128629
Overton126825
White126615
Johnson12118
Marshall120512
Carroll118127
Cocke116716
McNairy116330
Rhea115121
Cheatham112012
Campbell111613
Bledsoe10404
Smith104014
Giles102238
Lake9924
Lincoln9514
Fentress94812
Crockett91722
Henry84512
Hickman84115
Marion82613
DeKalb79018
Chester74416
Decatur68211
Grainger6414
Grundy60013
Union5604
Claiborne5498
Polk53813
Unicoi4865
Jackson4778
Humphreys4694
Lewis4586
Morgan4587
Benton44110
Cannon4362
Houston43117
Clay42216
Scott4165
Sequatchie3702
Stewart35613
Perry3508
Meigs3396
Pickett2879
Moore2862
Van Buren2132
Hancock1273

Community Events