Britain, Canada rollover European Union trade terms for Brexit deal

Cheryl Sanders
November 22, 2020

Without the new accord, the United Kingdom and Canada would face tariffs on trade from January 1, when the Brexit transition period ends.

"Now we get to continue to work on a bespoke agreement, a comprehensive agreement, over the coming years that will really maximize our trade opportunities and boost things for everyone", Trudeau said.

Total trade between the two countries was worth about £17 billion in 2019.

Justin Trudeau and Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng were joined by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the U.K.'s Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss to make the announcement on November 21.

Described by the British government as a "stopgap", the deal announced Saturday rolls over existing trade agreements between the United Kingdom and Canada, and opens the door to negotiations in 2021 on a specific UK-Canada trade pact.

British finance minister Rishi Sunak has said there is genuine progress in Brexit talks with the European Union, but that it would be better to walk away from a bad trade deal than tie Britain's hands in the future. "British businesses export everything from electric cars to sparkling wine to Canada, and today's deal will ensure that trade goes from strength to strength", Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement. Without a series of new bilateral agreements, trade with countries around the world may be hampered by barriers such as tariffs and increased paperwork.

The yet to be ratified deal with Canada's fifth-largest trading partner acts as a foundation for more substantial agreements moving forward into 2021.

"We urge trade negotiators on both sides to raise a dram of whisky (Canadian preferred, but Scotch or Irish is acceptable) to celebrate the current transitional agreement, but quickly re-engage to conclude a full bilateral free trade agreement", added Mr. Westcott. "This is a good moment", Trudeau said. The Canada's third-largest export market after the USA and China.

President-elect Joe Biden has warned there will not be such a deal if Britain is seen to undermine the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement as part of its own regulations governing post-Brexit trade at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. "I think what is good is we've come to some conclusion (...) we have to formalize it through negotiation, documentation... but I think laying the foundation saying this will emulate the CETA agreement... and we're moving forward effective January 2021 is such a strong signal for Canadian businesses".

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