According to reports by The Independent, Britain's Foreign Minister has indicated that trade talks are in their 'last week' with some progress made on 'level[ing the] playing field' issues (the standards the UK must meet to export into the EU).
However, as reported by The Guardian, Michel Barnier the Chief Negotiator for the EU has said that there are still significant divergences between the UK & EU positions. Negotiations are still at a standstill with regards to aspects of the fishing industry. The main issue is what access will, or will not, be granted to European fishing fleets in UK waters. Specifics include whether either UK or EU fishermen will be able to respond if the other seeks to gain a competitive advantage by agreeing to different environmental, labour, or social standards.
The Guardian also reports that Michel Barnier has been advised by EU Parliament members that arranging sufficient scrutiny and a consent vote by MEPs before the end of the year will be difficult without a deal by Wednesday (2nd Dec).
A no-deal will cause greater disruptions in addition to those already anticipated by the National Audit Office in their UK Preparedness report launched this November. The Chamber continues to monitor developments in negotiations and whilst we wish to remain positive that there is still a possibility to reach a deal, we urge businesses to take steps to prepare now - deal or no deal.