Boris Johnson will demand that the increasingly isolated French president, Emmanuel Macron, caves in to UK demands on fishing as the price for a trade and security deal at a key meeting with the European commission president on Saturday.



Boris Johnson wearing a hat and glasses: Photograph: Reuters


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Photograph: Reuters

The prime minister will speak to Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday afternoon in a video-conference call to “take stock of negotiations and discuss next steps”.

Johnson said he was “pretty optimistic” a Brexit deal could be reached. The prime minister told the Daily Telegraph the prospects of securing a deal by the end of the year to avoid an abrupt separation “are very good if everybody just exercises some common sense and looks at the deal that is there to be done”.



Boris Johnson wearing a hat and glasses: Boris Johnson, seen here during a visit to Grimsby fish market in December, hopes to win concessions on fisheries in trade negotiations with the EU.


© Photograph: Reuters
Boris Johnson, seen here during a visit to Grimsby fish market in December, hopes to win concessions on fisheries in trade negotiations with the EU.

Johnson will feel strengthened by comments from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday, when she described the fisheries deal struck by Britain with Norway this week as a “constructive indicator”.

British officials argue that Norway, a non-EU member state, which conducts annual negotiations with the bloc on fishing quotas, should be the model for a post-Brexit deal on shared stocks.

“I don’t think that’s a bad message at all for us, I think it is rather one that shows that one can find ways to come to an agreement,” Merkel said of the agreement between London and Oslo.

Von der Leyen said on Friday that the most contentious issues, including fisheries and the control of domestic subsidies, remained “completely open”. The EU now expects a deal to materialise only in late October or early November.

In a statement, the UK’s chief negotiator,

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke out against the 25% tariff on Scotch whisky exports to the US in Parliament, saying that “we will fight it every step of the way.”
  • The US introduced the tariff in October 2019 in retaliation against subsidies that EU member states gave to Airbus.
  • The tariff has made Scotch whisky less competitive in the US, and caused sales to plummet, according the the Scotch Whisky Association. In May 2020, exports to the US were 65% lower than the same month last year.
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The 25% tariff on Scotch whisky exports to the US should be lifted, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“We will continue to take a very robust line. It cannot be right that American consumers should continue to pay over the odds for Scotch (whisky),” he told Parliament on Wednesday.

“It cannot be right that this discrimination should continue and we will fight it every step of the way,” the prime minister said.

He had already brought the matter up several times with President Donald Trump, he added.

The US introduced a 25% tariff on single malt Scotch whisky exports to the US in October 2019. It was introduced in retaliation against subsidies EU member states gave to aircraft maker Airbus.

In 2019, more than a fifth of the Scotch whisky industry’s export revenue came from the US. This made the US the industry’s biggest market with sales of over £1 billion ($1.3 billion), according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the industry’s trade body.

But sales fell sharply after the tariff made it less competitive, the SWA said. Exports to the US dropped 30% from October 2019 to July 2020, causing losses of around £300 million ($386 million), which has been compounded by the