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Not only will a trade deal with Europe take a long time—it should

It takes years to work out what is most important and how to achieve it in international negotiations

By David Henig  

His stated aim of completing a trade deal next year is not just unfeasible but undesirable

The commitment is clear, even in a Conservative manifesto of frequent vagueness. “We will negotiate a trade agreement next year—one that will strengthen our Union—and we will not extend the implementation period beyond December 2020.” There continues to be much discussion about whether such a timetable is feasible, given the EU has never concluded a major trade agreement in anything close to that time and the UK has for decades…

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