|Peter Mackay has stated Canada should pursue free trade with the UK (photo: The Canadian Press)|
Written by Julius Melnitzer – Financial Post
“As a trusted friend, honest broker and ally to both the U.K. and the European Union, Canada can pursue free trade with the U.K. without undermining CETA,” said MacKay, who is currently a partner at Baker & McKenzie LLP in Toronto. “Canada is also positioned to help shape Brexit.”
McKay’s comments followed on his address to the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce at the House of Lords on Friday, during which he provided his perspective on a shopping list of what Canadians would like to see from Brexit.
Heading up MacKay’s wish list is the continuation of tariff-free, cross-border trade in goods between the U.K. and the EU.
“This will preserve established supply chains of which Canadian business and investments form an integral part on both sides of the channel,” MacKay said.
— CANZUK International (@CANZUKint) March 19, 2017
Preserving the high level of cross-border trade in wholesale financial services between the U.K. and the EU is also a top priority. MacKay believes this will maintain financial stability in the near term while creating the conditions for Canadian financial firms to assist in broadening and deepening the EU’s own capital markets union.
Continued mutual access to airspace, transportation links, energy markets, and telecommunication networks would benefit Canada as well. Canadian pension funds have invested heavily in the infrastructure required to support these sectors in the U.K. and in the EU. MacKay said Canadians would like to keep investing in such infrastructure, but need stability in the regulatory environment to do that.
MacKay, who held federal cabinet posts in foreign affairs, justice and defence, believes that Canada should offer up assistance to the U.K. in its negotiations for access to the EU market. The EU Parliament passed the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in February. Canada’s Parliament is expected to approve the deal before the end of the year.
“CETA gave us a lot of expertise in crafting access to a single market and the U.K. could do far worse than reach out to senior people in our departments of international trade for help in their negotiations with the EU,” MacKay said. “They could certainly learn from our experience.”