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Europe

No-trade deal Brexit is still possible, UK minister says

A senior British minister said on Tuesday (December 1) there was still a chance of a turbulent Brexit without a trade deal as talks with the European Union had snagged on fishing, governance rules and dispute resolution.

With each side urging the other to compromise, a French official said Britain must clarify its positions and “really negotiate”, and cautioned that the EU would not accept a “substandard deal”.

Both Britain and the EU say they want a deal, and their two negotiating teams have been locked in intensive talks for more than five weeks. EU sources have said the talks are now in their final, most secretive phase and that they are hoping for a deal in the coming days.

Michael Gove, the cabinet minister responsible for the divorce deal, said an agreement was close but that to get it over the line the EU would have to live up to its responsibilities.

Asked if a “no deal” scenario was closer than anyone would admit, he told ITV: “It’s certainly the case that there is a chance that we may not get a negotiated outcome.”

“That’s why it’s important business prepares for all eventualities, but I very much want a deal and I believe that we can secure one,” Gove said.

Gove avoided repeating an earlier prediction of a 66% probability of a deal, declining to give a figure.

[Reuters]

5 signs this is the real Brexit crunch (and 4 that it isn’t)

Firms on both sides are getting extra nervous and piling the pressure on politicians to come up with solutions. The less time there is between a deal and the end of the transition, the less time companies have to prepare for changes.

BusinessEurope issued a cry for help, arguing in a statement that, after the coronavirus shock, nations “cannot afford another major disruption caused by a no-deal situation,” and adding: “It is time to conclude an agreement.”

On the U.K. side, firms have been tearing their hair out about the lack of information about the future, while business leaders have urged the EU to phase in its border controls to ease the end of the transition.

Meanwhile, the war of words between the U.K. and the haulage industry appears to have been put aside, as all involved knuckle down to make the necessary preparations for January. One haulage representative said Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove was listening to concerns more than in recent months.

[Politico]

 

Middle East

Saudi Arabia looking to adopt Egypt’s e-invoicing model

Saudi Arabia is looking to adopt the electronic invoicing model implemented by Egypt which managed to be the first country in the MENA region to require taxpayers to issue electronic tax invoices.

The Governor of the General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT), Suhail bin Mohammed Abanmi, commended the efforts exerted by Egypt in this regard during a virtual meeting with the Egyptian Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait, according to a statement on Sunday (November 29).

Maait said that the e-invoicing system is a key step towards automating the tax declarations system, facilitating procedures for taxpayers, and combating tax evasion.

Egypt is keen to share its experiences and provide technical support to help Saudi Arabia implement the e-invoicing system, he noted.

[Zawya]

 

Africa

Egypt’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) launched a digital portal for licensing and import services

The e-services include customs clearance as well as cover permits, the statement added.

More than 5,000 importers, whether corporates or individuals, can benefit from 37 of the authority’s services, CEO of NTRA Hossam el Gamal said.

The telecom ministry launched last August the trial phase of the digital platform Misr al Rakamia (Digital Egypt), which provides electronic government services.

[Arab Finance]