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Britain and EU to resume trade talks

Another about turn, Brexit negotiations are to resume... Again.

Intensified daily talks restart on Thursday (Oct 22) afternoon, having halted abruptly last week.

On Wednesday (October 21) EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that an EU-UK trade deal was still "within reach".

UK negotiator David Frost later tweeted confirmation that talks were back on.

One analyst on Thursday said that "while we’ve been here before, there is the distinct prospect that a pathway to some form of agreement is opening up".

Britain left the EU in January and is currently in a status-quo transition period which finishes at the end of the year.

Failure to strike a trade deal would mean commerce being conducted on World Trade Organization rules, involving some tariffs and quotas.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week told businesses to get ready for a no-deal outcome.

His comments though were soon dismissed by markets as brinkmanship.

One commentator told Reuters that "market participants were never convinced by the political posturing".

The British government is under increasing pressure to avoid a no-deal outcome not least because of the havoc being caused by the pandemic.

The country has Europe's highest death toll from the virus and new infections are rising rapidly.