World

Report: EU trade boss says pre-Brexit trade deal unrealistic

The European Union's trade commissioner says it's "unrealistic" to expect that a trade deal between the EU and Britain will be ready by the time the U.K. leaves the bloc in 2019.

German weekly Der Spiegel quoted commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom Friday as saying that it's unrealistic to have a trade agreement on April 1, 2019, when Britain is expected to have left the EU — two years after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered exit negotiations.

She said that there could be discussions before then on the aims and scope of a trade deal, but several years would be needed to negotiate details.

May has been seeking parallel talks on unwinding Britain's EU membership while at the same time already negotiating a future relationship and a trade deal with the bloc.