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United Kingdom signs Swiss trade deal as heat grows on Liam Fox

12 February 2019

As uncertainty around Brexit grows, a study by the IWH Institute in Germany revealed that if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, it would put almost 6 lakh people around the world out of jobs.

Liam Fox's trade department has secretly admitted to some of Britain's biggest businesses that the 40 free trade deals the minister promised to have ready by Brexit day are "unlikely" to materialise.

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The deal's reciprocal arrangement also clarifies plans for some 17,000 British citizens who reside in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The Department for International Trade said the agreement would maintain UK-Swiss trade under the preferential terms now available to both countries through an European Union free trade deal.

"Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the United Kingdom but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU", Fox said.

Mrs Leadsom said there was "no chance" Mrs May would adopt Mr Corbyn's "view of the world", adding: "The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear we're leaving the EU, we're leaving the customs union, we're leaving the single market".

Signing the agreement in Bern today, worldwide trade secretary Liam Fox said: "Switzerland is one of the most valuable trading partners that we are seeking continuity for, accounting for more than £32bn worth of trade a year".

Her response comes ahead of another week of Brexit debate and voting in Westminster.

"I don't see that in the letter", he said.

Theresa May has responded to Jeremy Corbyn's letter setting out his five demands for a Brexit deal.

European Union leaders have turned down Mrs May's plea to renegotiate parts of the legally binding Brexit withdrawal bill, making the no-deal outcome more likely even though both sides believe it would harm their economies. Although lawmakers asked for the backstop to be removed, May has said since that the backstop will remain, and that Parliament merely asked for it to be altered.

"The talks are at a crucial stage", May will tell parliament on Tuesday, according to remarks supplied by her Downing Street office.

It comes as the latest set of economic figures for the United Kingdom showed the slowest growth since 2009, when the country was in recession.

Theresa May is due to update the Commons later on the latest developments in negotiations with Brussels and Dublin, as the sides try to find a way through the impasse on measures for the Irish border.

Although Britain's Treasury chief Philip Hammond argued the British economy remains "fundamentally strong" and is "enjoying the longest unbroken quarterly growth streak" among the Group of Seven industrialised countries, he conceded that Brexit unease was taking its toll. The new pledge would be for a repeat of this process by February 27. "I'm afraid this has gone on longer than we would have liked".

United Kingdom signs Swiss trade deal as heat grows on Liam Fox