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MarketWatch MarketPulseOct 18, 2018
Brextra: U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May seen willing to extend Brexit transition, say reports
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is considering a longer transition period as Britain attempts to break an impasse in talks to forge a new relationship with Europe's trade bloc. At a summit in Brussels on Wednesday, May told a 27-member panel of representatives of European Union nations that she was "ready to consider" extending a 21-month transition period following the U.K.'s exit from the EU at the end of March, according to reports in The Guardian on Thursday. The move is viewed as a conciliatory tactic by May as she attempts to navigate tense talks with EU officials following a closely watched dinner meeting in Brussels, which was referred to by European Council President Donald Tusk earlier in the week as May's "moment of truth." Fears that the U.K. was on the brink of severing its customs and trade partnership with the EU without a clear trade deal in place, have threatened to stoke volatility in domestic markets, if not ripple globally. A decision to delay the Brexit transition could see Britons abiding under EU rules until 2021 or longer. The Brextra time, as some critics have referred to it, has stoked anger among hardline constituents who had advocated for a May to follow through with Brexit and were against maintaining EU ties for longer. For months, the EU and U.K. have been at loggerheads over specifically over the issue of trade between the Republic of Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland. The British pound was at $1.3110, little changed against the U.S. dollar, compared with $1.3114 late Wednesday in New York.

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