The UK-EU Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement is a draft free trade agreement between the UK and the European Union, which is expected to be signed before the end of the transition period in December 2020.   As of October 31, 2020[update], there is no such agreement, and discussions on the continuation of the agreement. On May 15, the May round of trade negotiations (by video conference) ended with an agreement, with each side holding the other responsible for the lack of progress.  While these discussions were ongoing, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove raised the question of whether a quota and tariff agreement (such as the CET agreement between the EU and Canada) could be a better option, but EU sources rejected the idea of agreeing conditions within the allotted time.  On 19 May, the British government published its draft agreement.  He added: “The friction points remain fundamental. We have always known that we can only reach an agreement if it respects our sovereignty. Meanwhile, the ninth round of negotiations (started at the end of September) ended on 2 October with no tangible progress. In a public statement, Barnier said there was “continued convergence in trade in goods, services and investment, civil nuclear cooperation and participation in EU programmes”; “new positive developments on issues such as aviation security, social security coordination and respect for fundamental rights and individual freedoms”; “the lack of progress on some important issues, such as data protection, climate change commitments or carbon pricing.”  However, there have been “serious persistent divergences on issues of great importance to the European Union,” including “strong long-term guarantees of open and fair competition,” “strong dispute control and settlement mechanisms and effective remedial measures” and “a stable, sustainable and long-term fisheries agreement.”  The August round of negotiations ended on 21 August with “little progress.   The EU`s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said there was little time left and said it was “unlikely” that an agreement could be reached.  Britain`s chief negotiator David Frost said: “An agreement is always possible, and that is still our goal, but it is clear that it will not be easy to achieve it. In a number of areas of future cooperation between the UK and the EU, substantial work is still needed if we are to implement them. We had some useful discussions this week, but there has been little progress.  Barnier questioned the sudden British surprise at the threat of the loss of interstate (and non-domestic) cabotage rights for British carriers, as this was an advantage of the internal market that the United Kingdom had left and never available to third countries.
 The issue of bringing legislation closer together is that the EU considers the UK to comply with EU rules (product safety, environmental protection, workers` rights, subsidies, etc.). The United Kingdom says it will not do so.  The withdrawal agreement recognises that in Britain the standards will be different from those of the EU in many respects (with the loss of trade privileges in these areas), with Northern Ireland enjoying special status to keep the Irish border open.