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Irish PM says EU-UK free-trade deal possible by end-2020

DUBLIN, Nov 15 (Reuters) - It may be possible to negotiate a new free-trade deal between Britain and the European Union by the end of next year if it does not diverge significantly from current trading terms, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Friday.

"In terms of negotiating a trade agreement before December 2020, I think that is difficult but not impossible" if Britain ratifies its EU withdrawal agreement by its current Jan. 31 deadline, Varadkar told journalists in Dublin.

"The more like the status quo, the quicker it will be," Varadkar said, but added that ratification by 27 member states may not be possible by the end of 2020, the scheduled end of a proposed Brexit transition phase. (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Andrew Heavens)