UK Secures Post-Brexit Trade Deal with Canada Ahead of EU Deadline

BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 24: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) shakes hands with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau on August 24, 2019 in Biarritz, France. The French southwestern seaside resort of Biarritz is hosting the 45th G7 summit from August 24 to 26. High on the agenda will …
Stefan Rousseau - Pool/Getty Images

The United Kingdom secured a post-Brexit trade agreement with Canada on Saturday, and have committed to negotiating deeper trade ties after Britain finally frees itself from the control of the European Union at the end of the year.

The agreement will come into place on January 1st following the end of the Brexit transition period. The government expects the deal to lock in at least £20 billion in trade between the two nations, as well as an estimated £42 million in tariff savings on British exports.

The deal will secure zero tariffs of cars from the United Kingdom to Canada, which totalled some £757 million in sales last year, as well as tariff-free exports on 98 per cent of British goods including fish, beef, seafood, and soft drinks.

The agreement will also save the British public from paying up to 8 per cent in increased prices on Canadian goods such as maple syrup, biscuits, and salmon.

Announcing the deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This is a fantastic agreement for Britain which secures transatlantic trade with one of our closest allies. 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.”

“Our negotiators have been working flat out to secure trade deals for the UK, and from as early next year we have agreed to start work on a new, bespoke trade deal with Canada that will go even further in meeting the needs of our economy,” Johnson added.

The two countries agreed that they will seek further economic cooperation starting next year in a specific British-Canadadian deal on areas such as digital trade. The future negotiations are also expected to focus on the ‘Build Back Better’ priorities of Mr Johnson and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, such as climate change and “women’s economic empowerment”.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Today’s agreement underpins £20 billion worth of trade and locks in certainty for the thousands of jobs. We look forward to striking a new more ambitious deal next year with the aim of creating more opportunities for businesses and improving the lives of people across the country.”

“The UK is bonded by history, culture and transatlantic trade with our friends and allies in Canada, and we want to continue to build partnerships around the world that support our shared values of freedom and democracy, and today marks another step towards membership of a group of like-minded nations- the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Truss added.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came after President Donald Trump removed the United States from the TPP, is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The British government said that joining the CPTPP “is a key part of our trade negotiations programme, helping businesses secure more opportunities in 11 key Pacific markets.”

There is a small outpost of British territory in the Pacific Ocean in the form of the Pitcairn Islands.

The deal with Canada marks the second major trade deal to be secured ahead of the completion of the Brexit transition period, following the announcement of a trade deal with Japan over the summer.

Britain is also expected to secure a trade deal with Australia by Christmas, according to former Australian prime minister turned British trade envoy Tony Abbott.

“I know on both sides there is an eagerness to try and get the Australian deal done before Christmas and I hope in the next negotiating session both sides are prepared to put all their cards on the table so the best possible deal can be hammered out,” Abbott told the Commons International Trade Committee on Wednesday.

The positive trade news comes as the constantly moving deadline for securing a trade deal with the European Union is set for next week, with several previous deadlines having passed already.

The United Kingdom has been pushing for a Canada-style agreement with the European Union, however, the bloc has refused to accept such terms, arguing that Britain’s proximity to continental Europe makes such a deal unacceptable to them.

The EU has instead been pushing for the United Kingdom to agree to remain bound by the bloc’s rules, regulations, and courts despite leaving it, as well as for continued control over Britain’s territorial fishing waters — demands that would violate the central mandate of the Brexit campaign.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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