Britain and Canada struck a rollover trade deal on Saturday to protect the flow of $27 billion-worth of goods and services between them after Brexit and eyed to start talks on a comprehensive agreement next year.
As Britain prepares to end its transition out of the European Union on the 31st of December, it has negotiated multiple rollover bilateral deals to maintain trade, with many simply replacing the terms the bloc had already agreed.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined Canada’s Justin Trudeau and their respective trade ministers on an online call to mark the deal, which paves the way for a tailor-made agreement covering more areas such as digital trade, small businesses, the environment and women’s economic empowerment.
“Today’s agreement underpins 20 billion pounds worth of trade and locks in certainty for thousands of jobs,” Liz Truss, the UK’s international trade secretary, said in a statement.
Today the UK and #Canada have agreed a vital trade continuity agreement. 🇬🇧 🇨🇦— Liz Truss (@trussliz) November 21, 2020
This deal means:
✅ certainty for businesses and industry
✅ a foundation for a new, advanced trade deal
✅ and brings us one step closer to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.#CanadaDeal pic.twitter.com/CX96Ba8rRB
Her Canadian counterpart Mary Ng said the transitional agreement “largely replicates” the EU deal on tariff reductions and provisions for labour and environment.
“We do want an ambitious, high level comprehensive trade agreement with the UK,” Ng said, signalling Canada wanted similar terms to the EU deal.
Britain is Canada’s fifth largest trading partner after the United States, China, Mexico and Japan.
Johnson is trying to shape a new “global Britain” that can strike out alone and negotiate better trade agreements than the EU as part of what he says is the benefits of its historic decision to leave the world’s second biggest trading bloc.
Great to speak with @JustinTrudeau, @mary_ng and @trussliz today to secure a fantastic trade agreement for Britain.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 21, 2020
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. 🇬🇧🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/3Ulmva0GLi
In less than two years it has agreed trade deals with 53 countries, accounting for 164 billion pounds ($217.82 billion) of British bilateral trade. Johnson’s critics point out that many are largely the same as the EU deals.
The UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement will be subject to final legal checks before it is formally signed. “This is a good moment,” Trudeau said.