10/12/2018 - Pressure On PM To Push Back On Brussels

GBP

Theresa May will push ahead with a crucial vote on her European Union exit deal, her Brexit minister said on Sunday, as senior MPs in her own party piled pressure on the prime minister to go back to Brussels and seek a better offer.

May’s deal, which would see Britain keep close economic ties with the EU, looks set to be rejected by parliament on Tuesday. That decision could throw plans for Britain’s exit into turmoil and leave her own political future hanging in the balance. New outlets reported May was expected to say on Monday that she was delaying the vote to make a last-minute dash to Brussels to appeal to the EU to improve the deal.

While EU diplomats have said they could consider helping May with “cosmetic” changes to the non-binding political agreement that accompanies the deal, the legally binding text of the exit deal itself would be off limits to renegotiation. European Council President Donald Tusk said on Sunday he had spoken to May by phone ahead of what he said was “an important week for the fate of Brexit”.

The strongest opposition to May’s deal centres around the so-called backstop, an insurance policy designed to prevent a hard border between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland.

Brexit supporters and May’s nominal allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) say it could leave Britain forced to accept EU regulations indefinitely, or Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the United Kingdom.

USD

U.S.-China trade negotiations need to reach a successful end by March 1 or new tariffs will be imposed, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday, clarifying there is a “hard deadline” after a week of seeming confusion among President Donald Trump and his advisers.

Global markets are jittery about a collision between the world’s two largest economic powers over China’s huge trade surplus with the United States and U.S. claims that China is stealing intellectual property and technology.

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