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Ambassadors of the European Union have failed to thrash out a common stance ahead of negotiations with the UK on post-Brexit trade arrangements. Representatives of the 27 member states have disagreed on the definition of a level playing field – the degree of British alignment that Brussels will require from London for easy market access. 

Ministers are set to approve a common EU position by next Tuesday, ahead of negotiations in March. The UK left the bloc on January 31 but maintains most rights and obligations during the transition period which expires at year-end. 

The EU’s inability to formalize a stance may potentially cause a delay in talks, risking a higher chance of Britain reverting to World Trade Organization rules from 2021 – unfavorable commerce conditions. 

GBP/USD is trading around 1.2927, down mostly on the strength of the US dollar.