Boris Johnson and the European Union are in “different galaxies” when it comes to striking a post-Brexit trade deal.
The documents were due to be discussed during a negotiating round, scheduled for London, that was eventually called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the virus continues to spread, it has “proved impossible” for both sides to organise any alternative to planned, face-to-face negotiating rounds.
An EU source said: “The first big difference is we have a fully fledged proposal in line with the political declaration while the Brits have only tabled a few things – much less than we expected.
“The scope is narrower than we had thought it would be, that’s the basic problem.”
A Brussels official added: “It’s hard to take things forward when you’ve only got half of the topics covered.”
A deal will be hard to reach without Britain proposing plans for a level-playing field and an overarching framework to govern the future relationship.
David Frost, the Prime Minister’s lead negotiator, has warned Brussels he will not allow the country to remain under the bloc’s rules and regulations.
But Michel Barnier has proposed that Britain dynamically aligns to the EU’s state aid laws to prevent its businesses from becoming too competitive in the future.
Future trade rounds look set to be abandoned while countries around the world remain on lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Both sides had agreed to work on arranging talks by video conferencing, but have since failed to establish how to do so.
“It has proved impossible to have video conference, but we are still trying to make a way to work,” said one EU diplomat.
Brussels believes Mr Johnson is preparing to extend the post-Brexit transition period with it looking increasingly unlikely a deal will not be reached by the end of the year.
Brussels is even ready to consider offering Mr Johnson the opportunity to present any one-off extension beyond December 31 as a victory in order to help the Prime Minister sell the delay domestically.
However, any delay would see a tense negotiation over the money Britain would be made to inject into the bloc’s budget.
European capitals would also seek to make these talks “manageable” for Mr Johnson in a bid to get a deal over the line, according to one EU source.