British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that there were still problems in Brexit trade talks and that Britain would thrive without a deal.

"The position is unchanged: there are problems," he told reporters when asked if there would be a trade deal.

"It's vital that everybody understands that the UK has got to be able to control its own laws completely and also that we've got to be able to control our own fisheries."

"WTO terms would be more than satisfactory for the UK. And we can certainly cope with any difficulties that are thrown our way. Not that we don't want a deal but that WTO terms would be entirely satisfactory," he said.

Unless Mr Johnson can strike a trade deal with the EU in the next 10 days, the United Kingdom will leave the bloc's informal membership on 31 December at 23:00 London time without one.

He said he spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, who turned 47 today, about border issues, but not about Brexit.

"It’s his birthday by the way, but we vowed to stick off Brexit because that negotiation is being conducted as you know via the European Commission and that's quite proper," Mr Johnson said.

A Brexit trade deal would ensure that the goods trade which makes up half of annual EU-UK commerce, worth nearly a trillion dollars in all, would remain free of tariffs and quotas.

Britain says the talks are stuck on two issues – the so-called level playing field and fishing waters - and has repeatedly said the EU has to budge or there will be no deal.

Failure to agree a deal on goods trade would send shock waves through financial markets, hurt European economies, snarl borders and disrupt supply chains.

In the case of a "no deal" on trade, Britain would lose zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the European single market of 450 million consumers overnight.

Britain would default to World Trade Organization (WTO)terms in its trade with the 27-state bloc. It would impose its new UK global tariff (UKGT) on EU imports while the EU would impose its common external tariff on UK imports.

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Talks on a post-Brexit trade deal are expected to continue this week.

Lead negotiators Michel Barnier and Lord Frost met in Brussels yesterday but Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that talks are not in a good place, although good progress was made on the level playing field issue last week and a deal was reached on the implementation on the Northern Ireland protocol.

Mr Coveney said fisheries remains unresolved and until and unless this can be resolved, there will not be a deal.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Mr Coveney said that the EU has made an offer that goes "well beyond" where the EU was a few weeks ago.

However, he added that the EU would continue to work with the UK to try and find agreement because the last thing that is needed now, as efforts are made to deal with Covid-19, is a no-deal Brexit.

He said it would be very disruptive and a huge failure of politics if a deal could be reached.

Mr Coveney said it is unlikely that the transition period will be extended because this is a complex legal process and needed to be done in the middle of last Summer.

More than 95% of the deal has been written and approved, he said, but there seems to be a perception that because fisheries is important for the UK, it is not an important one for the EU and it should "just be signed off on".

"This is not how this will end," he warned, adding that the EU offer is a very generous one and countries like France, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland are unlikely to support a further offer.