Canada and the United Kingdom reach a trade agreement before Brexit

The trade agreement between the two countries is essentially a continuation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that included Canada and Great Britain, but the part between Canada and the United Kingdom would have expired when Brexit went into effect.

Canada and the United Kingdom agreed on a new provisional trade agreement on Saturday prior to the Brexit deadline of December 31. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, made the announcement at the beginning of the virtual G20 summit.

See more: Boris Johnson, between rupture and commitment with the European Union

The trade agreement between the two countries is essentially a continuation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that included Canada and Great Britain, but the part between Canada and the United Kingdom would have expired when Brexit went into effect.

Trudeau said the new agreement gives the two countries time to reach a more detailed agreement. “Now we can continue to work on a tailored (custom) agreement, a comprehensive agreement for years to come that will really maximize our business opportunities and make things better for everyone,” Trudeau said.

Johnson tweeted his enthusiasm for the “fantastic trade deal” keeping the Canadian market open for the UK. “British companies export everything from electric cars to sparkling wine to Canada, and today’s agreement will ensure that trade goes from strength to strength.”

See more: The Spectator explains: Can Boris Johnson change the Brexit deal?

Called the Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement, the agreement ensures that no tariffs will be applied to 98% of the goods traded between the two nations. Trade between the two totaled CAN 29 billion in 2019.

“We knew that having an interim agreement would be crucial to ensure that businesses, exporters and our workers on both sides of the Atlantic have the continuity and predictability they need,” said Canadian International Trade Minister Mary Ng. “This business continuity agreement between Canada and the United Kingdom ensures that we maintain our strong and mutually beneficial business relationship.”

The agreement must be approved by both countries and in Canada, which means that it must be approved in Parliament. Canadian opposition politicians have complained that there is not enough time to study all the provisions of the agreement in detail before the traditional holiday.

Brexit, an endless nightmare

Brexit negotiating teams are already playing overtime. Although there is significant progress in reaching an agreement, there are still several gaps on issues that are key for both the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom. The points of disagreement remain the same: the fisheries, the governance of the agreement and the non-regression clauses.

This time the delay is due to the change to virtuality, which has delayed the negotiations. And it is that a chief negotiator of the European Commission tested positive for coronavirus. But not all the delays are due to the pandemic. In addition to the desire to close the trade agreement, MEPs want to analyze the text in committee and then vote on it. This requires a translation into the 24 official languages ​​of the EU.

The text was due to be ready in October, as ratification by Westminster and the European Parliament is required. Time is running out, as the transition period will run until December 31.

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