The UK is preparing to detail its demands for a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
Ministers are expected to recommit to seeking to obtain a Canada-style agreement in the negotiating mandate scheduled for publication on Thursday.
But this could set up a clash with the EU after its chief negotiator Michel Barnier ruled out the possibility the UK can have the same deal as the North American nation.
The Government is expected to publish its negotiating mandate for a desired free trade agreement with the US the following week.
No surprises were being billed for the UK’s demands from Brussels, with Boris Johnson’s Europe adviser David Frost having delivered a major speech this week.
Downing Street is accusing the EU of being in disarray over its plans for a post-Brexit trade deal, in the latest deterioration of relations ahead of crunch talks next month.
Boris Johnson will also unveil his blueprint for a US trade deal next week, in a move designed to heap further pressure on Brussels. However, EU sources regard the hostile briefings as a bluff from the prime minister’s team, saying that their pre-negotiation plans are on track.
Both the government and the EU will unveil their negotiating mandates this week, before the two sides come together for talks at the start of March. However, figures on both sides are also worried about the early collapse of talks after a series of clashes before discussions have even begun.
The conflict centres on the degree to which Brussels will demand that Britain sticks to EU rules as part of a deal. Johnson and his chief negotiator, David Frost, have said that they have no intention of doing so and are prepared for the disruption in trade that could follow.
Government sources said that the UK would accuse the EU of depriving Britain of deals that it has already offered other countries outside the bloc. It will double down on its accusation that the EU has effectively withdrawn an offer to give the UK a Canada-style agreement, which would allow Britain to diverge from EU rules in the future. However, the EU insists that Britain’s proximity and the size of its trade always meant that such an offer was dependent on its willingness to adopt “level playing field” measures, designed to keep it aligned to some EU rules.