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Ex-Brexit negotiator Frost to lead UK’s relations with EU

February 17, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 file photo, UK Chief Brexit negotiator David Frost walks before getting in the same car that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson then got into when he left 10 Downing Street, in London, to fly to Brussels. David Frost has been appointed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet as a minister of state, the government said Wednesday Feb. 17, 2021. His job, which starts March 1, will be to lead relations with the EU and “help drive through changes to maximize the opportunities of Brexit.” (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 file photo, UK Chief Brexit negotiator David Frost walks before getting in the same car that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson then got into when he left 10 Downing Street, in London, to fly to Brussels. David Frost has been appointed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet as a minister of state, the government said Wednesday Feb. 17, 2021. His job, which starts March 1, will be to lead relations with the EU and “help drive through changes to maximize the opportunities of Brexit.” (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

LONDON (AP) — The negotiator who led Britain’s divorce talks with the European Union has been given the job of leading the U.K’s relations with the bloc.

The British government said Wednesday that David Frost was appointed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet as a minister of state for the Cabinet Office. Frost’s job, which starts March 1, will be to lead relations with the EU and “help drive through changes to maximize the opportunities of Brexit,” the government said.

He is also due to lead Britain’s side of a joint U.K.-EU joint committee overseeing the Brexit agreement, which has already hit bumpy waters over the special status of Northern Ireland.

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Frost, a former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, is not an elected politician, but Johnson appointed him to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords.

Frost and his team spent months in difficult negotiations with an EU team led by Michel Barnier over the rules governing Britain’s trade relations with the 27-nation bloc after the U.K. withdrew from the bloc a little more than a year ago.

The trade deal reached in December establishes tariff- and quota-free exchange of goods but sets up customs checks and other obstacles to the previously seamless commerce between Britain and the bloc.