Boris Johnson threatens to sabotage EU trade talks

Just days before formal trade negotiations with the EU are to begin, British PM Boris Johnson threatened late on Thursday that Britain would walk away from talks in June if its demands for full control over its own rules and laws are not met. His stance is an answer to EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who said a day earlier there will be no trade deal unless the UK agrees to the Union’s demands on fair competition.

Trade talks between two of the world's top economies are set to start Monday in Brussels, with 10 teams and 200 negotiators huddling in conference rooms, trying to ink a deal on a vast range of topics, from the trade of goods and services to environmental protections, security, intellectual property, fisheries, workers’ rights and aviation safety.

Johnson has refused to commit to publishing an economic impact assessment of his preferred “Canada-style” trade agreement, which would remove tariffs and quotas but would still involve new friction at the border. He has also declined to commit to saying what costs he is prepared to impose on the British economy if he carries out his threat to leave on WTO terms — a fallback position now re-designated by Number 10 as an Australia-style exit.

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