UPDATE 2-Gove says UK ‘well prepared’ for no-deal Brexit, even as businesses sound alarm

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(Adds businesses sounding alarm on no-deal Brexit)

By Kanishka Singh

Oct 18 (Reuters) – Michael Gove, the minister handling
Brexit divorce issues for Britain, said on Sunday that the UK is
“increasingly well-prepared” for a no-deal Brexit even as
businesses urged Britain and the European Union to find a
compromise over trade terms.

A tumultuous “no deal” finale to the United Kingdom’s
five-year Brexit crisis would sow chaos through the delicate
supply chains that stretch across Britain, the EU and beyond –
just as the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

“It is not my preferred destination,” Gove said in an
opinion piece in the Sunday Times newspaper https://bit.ly/3lXXGbm.

“But if the choice is between arrangements that tie our
hands indefinitely, or where we can shape our own future, then
that’s no choice at all. And leaving on Australian terms is an
outcome for which we are increasingly well-prepared”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that Britain
should get ready for a deal with the European Union similar to
the one Australia has, “based on simple principles of global
free trade.”

A so-called “Australia deal” means that the United Kingdom
would trade on World Trade Organization terms: as a country
without an EU trade agreement, like Australia, tariffs would be
imposed under WTO rules, likely causing significant price rises.

Johnson’s critics say that an Australian-style deal is
simply code for no deal at all with Britain’s largest export
market. Australia’s trade with the EU is dwarfed by Britain’s.

More than 70 British business groups representing over 7
million workers made a last-ditch attempt on Sunday to persuade
politicians to get back to the negotiating table next week and
strike a Brexit deal.

The groups ranged from the Confederation of British
Industry, TheCityUK and techUK to the National Farmers’ Union,
British Retail Consortium and the Society of Motor Manufacturers
and Traders.

Gove has previously said that while the British government
wanted an agreement with Brussels, it was not going be “held
hostage”.

“It will require a fundamental change in attitude, policy
and politics from the EU to get things back on track,” Gove
wrote in the Sunday Times.

“As things stand, that will not happen, and the EU’s
decisions at last week’s summit have, in effect, ended those
trade talks,” he added.

At what was supposed to be the “Brexit summit” on Thursday,
the EU delivered an ultimatum: it said it was concerned by a
lack of progress and called on London to yield on key sticking
points or see a rupture of ties with the bloc from Jan. 1 after
the end of the Brexit transition period.

SKYCHURPday Telegraph newspaper reported that British
business minister Alok Sharma is seeking cash from the Treasury
to help businesses navigate a no-deal Brexit.

“With compromise and tenacity, a deal can be done.
Businesses call on leaders on both sides to find a route
through”, business groups said in their joint statement on
Sunday.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Daniel Wallis and
Sonya Hepinstall)

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