Brexit-supporting website Facts4EU.org suggests the bloc would suffer in an escalated trade stand-off with the UK. It suggests EU goods sales to the UK in the 12 months to the end of August totalled a huge £252.2billion. Facts4EU.Org said: “If the EU starts a trade war, they will put economies and hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk. Here is the cold, hard truth for the EU of what it would be putting at risk, if it chose to start a trade war with the United Kingdom – its ‘Treasure Island’.”

They single out Germany as the EU country most likely to be crippled by a trade cold-turkey with the UK, describing it as “by far the EU’s largest economy.”

It estimates goods sales to the UK from Germany in 2019 amount to £65.6 billion.

Their report adds: “Recently, however, the EU’s economic powerhouse and biggest contributor to the EU’s budget by far, has been experiencing some difficulties.

“Production output as a whole in Germany is falling, retail sales continue to fall, and inflation is now running at 4.5 percent.

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“For Germany, the largest single product group it sells to the UK is of course motor vehicles, particularly cars.

“It is Germany’s car industry which is particularly suffering, due to supply chain difficulties and other factors.

“For Germany the motor industry is a significant part of the economy, representing 10 percent of GDP.”

Using pre-COVID-19 statistics from 2019, they categorised the EU’s top suppliers to the UK likely to lose out of the UK ceased to be a prominent trading partner of the EU.

Nonetheless, Lord Frost repeated on Friday that the option for him to trigger Article 16 was “very much on the table.”

He said: “We hope to make some progress, but honestly, the gap between us is still quite significant, but let’s see where we can get to. We’re not going to trigger Article 16 today, but Article 16 is very much on the table and has been since July.

“Time is running out on these talks if we are to make progress.”

Mr Sefcovic responded: “I found this disappointing and once again I urge the UK Government to engage with us sincerely.

“From this perspective, I see next week as an important one. We should focus all efforts on reaching a solution as soon as possible.

“Our aim should be to establish stability and predictability for Northern Ireland.”