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Britain wants to agree an EU free-trade deal: finance minister Sunak

·1 min read
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak during an interview in London
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak during an interview in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain wants to strike a free-trade deal with the European Union, but the short-term impact of not doing so will be overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme on Sunday.

Asked what the effect of not have a free-trade deal in place after the transition period ends on Dec. 31, Sunak said: "It's very difficult to be precise about the near-term effects.

"But I'd agree with what the prime minister has said, in the short term specifically and most immediately, it would be preferable to have a deal because it would ease things in the short term.

"But the most important impact on our economy next year is not going to be from that, it's because of coronavirus."

(Reporting by Willaim Schomberg and Paul Sandle; Editing by Andrew Heavens)