UK Brexit minister David Frost has said "significant" gaps still remain following his latest talks with the European Commission on the impasse over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Following a video conference call with EC Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, Mr Frost said they would speak again next week while their teams will have intensified talks in the coming days.
In a statement, he confirmed the UK remained ready to trigger Article 16 - suspending some of the arrangements in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement - if a settlement cannot be found.
"I made clear that the UK still wanted to find a negotiated solution if that was possible and was ready to keep working constructively and intensively to that end," he said.
"Nevertheless the gap between our positions is still significant and progress on many issues has been quite limited.
"Our position remains as before: that the threshold has been met to use Article 16 safeguards in order to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, if solutions cannot be found."
The UK is pressing for an easing of checks on goods moving from mainland Great Britain to Northern Ireland under the protocol, arguing they are damaging business and straining community relations.
Mr Šefcovic has urged London to conclude a deal to allow medicines to flow easily from Britain to Northern Ireland, well as other issues concerning trade to the area.
He posted the request in a tweet after a virtual meeting with British Brexit Minister David Frost, adding they would meet again next Friday
"Time to get medicines across the finish line and show strong political will to advance on the rest. This will translate into real benefits for all communities in NI," Mr Šefcovic said.
Met @DavidGHFrost via video conference to discuss 🇪🇺 package of impactful solutions for NI.— Maroš Šefčovič🇪🇺 (@MarosSefcovic) December 3, 2021
Time to get medicines across the finish line + show strong political will to advance on the rest. This will translate into real benefits for all communities in NI. We speak again 10 Dec. pic.twitter.com/RjA2Q58R5c
In reply, Mr Frost said there was a significant gap in their position and progress on many issues has been quite limited.
"There has been some potential convergence on the medicines issue but agreement has not been reached," he said.
"We continue to believe that more progress is needed on customs and SPS arrangements if we are to deal with the fundamental issue of improving the flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland."