Britain says UK-EU trade deal should be 'one of easiest in human history'

LONDON (REUTERS) - A bespoke trade deal between Britain and the European Union should be "one of the easiest in human history" to reach, British trade minister Liam Fox said on Thursday (July 20).

Fox said Britain and the EU already have similar regulatory rules and no tariffs. "The only reason that we wouldn't come to a free and open agreement is because politics gets in the way of economics," Fox told the BBC.

British and EU Brexit negotiators are due to say on Thursday how their first round of talks has gone.

Fox said Britain could "survive" without a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU.

His comments are in stark contrast to the view expressed by Britain's finance minister Philip Hammond, who said that no deal would be a "very, very bad outcome".

Fox also said he expects Prime Minister Theresa May to remain in power for the rest of this parliament after losing her majority in last month's election.

"I think that the Prime Minister is likely to be there for the rest of this parliament. I think she has the support of her colleagues in the House of Commons, I think she has a mandate to be the Prime Minister," Fox said.