LONDON (AP) — Britain’s overseas minister expressed optimism Friday that there’s a “deal to be finished” to resolve a Northern Eire commerce dispute that has soured the U.Ok.’s relations with the European Union.

Overseas Secretary Liz Truss struck an upbeat tone after her first set of talks with European Fee Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator.

“We have now had constructive talks with the EU. We are actually going to enter intensive negotiations to work in the direction of a negotiated answer to type out these very actual points for the folks of Northern Eire,” Truss advised broadcasters.

In a quick joint assertion, Truss and Sefcovic mentioned their talks had been “cordial” and so they had agreed to fulfill once more on Jan. 24 after “intensified” talks between their officers subsequent week.

Since Britain left the 27-nation bloc in 2020, relations have soured over Northern Eire, the one a part of the U.Ok. that shares sharing a border with an EU member. As a part of the divorce deal, the 2 sides agreed to maintain Northern Eire contained in the EU’s tariff-free single marketplace for items to take care of an open border on the island of Eire — a key pillar of Northern Eire’s peace course of.

That created a brand new customs border within the Irish Sea for items coming into Northern Eire from the remainder of the U.Ok. regardless that they’re a part of the identical nation.

The association has introduced crimson tape and provide issues for some companies, and it has angered Northern Eire’s British Unionists, who say the checks undermine Northern Eire’s place within the U.Ok. and destabilize the fragile political steadiness on which peace rests.

Truss was appointed Britain’s lead EU negotiator final month after Brexit Minister David Frost give up, citing disillusionment with the Conservative authorities’s insurance policies.

Brexit negotiations made restricted progress below Frost, perceived by many EU officers as an intransigent hard-liner. Truss has struck a hotter tone, although she has caught to Britain’s insistence that the EU take away its high court docket from its position in resolving any disputes over the Brexit settlement — an concept the bloc flatly rejects.

The U.Ok. is looking for main modifications to the preparations and has threatened to make use of an emergency break clause to droop elements of the legally binding Brexit divorce settlement if no answer is discovered. That may set off EU retaliation and will spiral right into a commerce warfare between the U.Ok. and the 27-nation bloc.

The EU has accused Britain of failing to reply positively to its “far-reaching proposals” to ease the burden on Northern Eire companies.

“I feel there’s a deal to be finished. I do wish to make progress,” Truss mentioned. “Clearly if we don’t make adequate progress we must take a look at the options, however my absolute need is to get a deal that works for the folks of Northern Eire.”

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Comply with all AP tales on post-Brexit developments at https://apnews.com/hub/Brexit

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