The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has declared that Britain’s deal with the bloc is 80 per cent agreed.
During a visit to New York, Michel Barnier said progress had been made in the negotiations but warned the stumbling block over the Irish border remains.
In a speech to the European American Chamber of Commerce, he also floated proposals for how a “close relationship” on financial services could be achieved after Britain quits.
Mr Barnier said an “equivalence system” of regulation and supervision could be adopted.
He said: “To date, the EU has adopted more than 200 so-called equivalence decisions covering more than 30 foreign jurisdictions, including of course the US.
“This integrates financial markets and facilitates the work of financial operators in the EU and the foreign jurisdiction.
“Today, to be very clear, we are in the EU the most open jurisdiction in the world for financial services.
“Why would this equivalence system, which works well, including for the US industry, not work for the UK?”
The exit deal struck so far includes protections for UK citizens living elsewhere in the bloc and EU citizens in Britain as well as a 21-month transition period and financial arrangements.
Mr Barnier said: “Over the last few months, we have made progress in the negotiations, as you can see in this draft withdrawal agreement which we have published – more or less 80 per cent.”
But he warned there were still hurdles to overcome, including the Irish border.
“We need to avoid a hard border and the UK has committed to this,” he said.
“As the same time we need to protect the EU’s external border to preserve the integrity of our market.”
Additional reporting by Press Association