EU-UK trade talks go on remotely

Construction work continues at the site of a lorry park being built between the villages of Sevington and Mersham, near the M20 motorway near Ashford in Kent, south east England on November 23, 2020, which will have the capacity to hold nearly 10,000 vehicles in the event of a no-deal Brexit. (AFP)
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Updated 24 November 2020

EU-UK trade talks go on remotely

  • ‘The differences on the level playing field and fisheries remain major,’ sources say

BRUSSELS: British and EU negotiators on Monday resumed talks on their post-Brexit relationship via video-conferencing, with the focus still squarely on dividing up fishing quotas and ensuring fair competition for companies, including on state aid.

Face-to-face talks, suspended last week after a member of the EU delegation tested positive for the coronavirus, will resume in London “when it is safe to do so,” said a source who follows Brexit.

Another source, an EU official, added: “The differences on the level playing field and fisheries remain major.”

These issues are the key obstacles to clinching a new deal to maintain free, frictionless trade between the estranged allies after Britain’s standstill transition out of the EU following Brexit completes at the end of this year.

British newspaper The Sun reported at the weekend that the negotiators were looking at a review clause that would allow a renegotiation of any new fishing arrangement from 2021 in several years’ time.

An EU diplomat, a third source who spoke under condition of anonymity, confirmed that such an idea was under discussion, but added that the bloc insisted on linking it to the overall trade agreement, meaning fishing rights could only be renegotiated together with the rest of trade rules.

“We need to uphold the link between fishing and trade rules, this comes in a package,” said the person.

The EU official stressed that annual renegotiation of fishing quotas was still a no-go for the 27-nation bloc. Fisheries are a particularly sensitive issue for France.

Thierry Breton, the French representative on the European Commission, the EU executive, said last week: “We shouldn’t have in the Brexit deal revision clauses in one or two years, when everything would change again ... We won’t let that happen. We need to give our entrepreneurs predictability.” 


Egypt receives 1.4 million tourists in second half of 2020

Updated 23 January 2021

Egypt receives 1.4 million tourists in second half of 2020

  • Al-Anani said that 756 hotels and 1,039 tourist restaurants have obtained health and safety certificates since the start of the pandemic
  • Charges for trips to Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh, Taba and Hurghada were reduced and ticket prices for all archaeological sites and museums were halved

CAIRO: As of December, Egypt received 1.4 million tourists since the resumption of the tourism activities at the beginning of July, bringing the total number of tourists during 2020 to 3.7 million.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani revealed this during a meeting with the Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, to review the ministry’s plans to combat the coronavirus.
He said that 756 hotels and 1,039 tourist restaurants have obtained health and safety certificates since the start of the pandemic.
The minister also reviewed the domestic tourism initiative Winter in Egypt and the discounted prices in this initiative.
Charges for trips to Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh, Taba and Hurghada were reduced and ticket prices for all archaeological sites and museums were halved.
The minister also reviewed the follow-up on the Cabinet’s decisions to support the tourism sector.
The minister discussed the support offered to the tourism sector, including the procedures to obtain credit facilities and to extend support though the Ministry of Social Solidarity to tourist guides until the end of December 2020.
On Friday, the Egyptian government cut the price of fuel for the aviation sector to support the tourism sector and stimulate aviation in Egypt. According to a statement, the reduction of 15 cents per gallon will continue until the end of this year.
Tourism revenues in Egypt have fallen by more than 69 percent over the past year, from $13.03 billion in 2019 to $4 billion in 2020, Al-Anani said.