British Prime Minister, Theresa May, will fly to Canada this week to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for discussions surrounding free trade between the two Commonwealth countries ahead of the UK’s departure from the European Union in 2019.
The last time both Prime Ministers met was at the G7 summit in Italy back in May, but this week will mark the first time both leaders have held formal talks about bilateral trade and diplomacy.
It is expected that May and Trudeau will talk, in-depth, about the need to increase high-level government contacts, the need to deepen economic ties and how to further security agendas in relations to the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance (which Canada and the UK are both affiliates of).
The main issue for the talks, however, will be the UK’s trading relationship with Canada once it leaves the European Union in 2019.
The UK is currently unable to formalise trade agreements while it is a member of the EU, but Canada has already pledged a swift trade deal with the British government once it leaves the customs bloc, with senior government officials confirming that Canada is eager to negotiate freer movement as part of trade talks.
In a statement last week to announce May’s visit, Trudeau said they would discuss “issues of mutual interest, including innovation, security, climate change and the importance of trade”.
“Canada and the U.K. enjoy a deep and enduring relationship, forged by centuries of shared history, traditions, and family ties. I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister May again to build on our economic partnership and set the stage for even closer cooperation and greater opportunities for all of our citizens.”
As the UK is Canada’s biggest trading partner in Europe, and third overall in the world after the USA and China, it is likely that positive free trade talks will be in both parties’ interests. With Canada’s Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister both supporting CANZUK International’s proposals, it is also likely that free movement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK will enter the discussions.
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