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UK-EU trade agreements ambiguous after Brexit: Minister

Britain has added more uncertainty to its future business relationship with the European Union as the country is struggling to clinch a withdrawal deal with the bloc.

British Business Minister Greg Clark said Wednesday that the government does not know how the UK’s trade arrangements with the EU will look like in the post-Brexit era.

In an interview with the BBC, Clark said he could not offer any details of the end-state Britain was seeking while the two sides were still negotiating.

“This is a negotiation which is about to happen. We can’t guarantee an end-state until it has been agreed by both sides,” Clark told BBC radio on Wednesday.

Britain has agreed in principle with the EU to have a status quo transition period, which is expected to be finalized in March.

This is while British businesses want more clarity from the government on the issue. They fear that a disorderly departure would harm UK’s $2.7 trillion economy when it leaves the EU in 2019.

Many Brexit supporters are in favor of leaving the EU customs union. They claim free-trade agreements with non-EU countries will make up for increased frictions between the UK and the EU.

Opponents of Brexit point to the fact that the EU remains Britain’s largest trading partner, while the government’s own leaked analysis predicts that leaving the customs union would be a more damaging route.

Clark said the government will aim for an end state “without tariffs and with a minimum of frictions.”

Two days ago, Britain’s Interior Minister had also emphasized that the British government’s main aim was to maintain “frictionless trade” with the European Union.

In an interview with the state-funded BBC, Amber Rudd claimed the UK economy will grow after leaving the European bloc.

Rudd also maintained that the UK government is more united on Brexit than many say.

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