The United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to Canada, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, has said informal talks between the British and Canadian governments are underway that could lead to a free trade deal in as little as a year.
A key vote on Brexit will be held in the British Parliament this coming Tuesday, but in the event of the vote not succeeding, le Jeune d’Allegeershecque assured CBC Radio’s “The House” that the UK wants to ensure minimum trading disruptions when it leaves the European Union on March 29th, 2019.
She also emphasised that away from public and media scrutiny, informal trade talks are underway between the UK and Canada:
“These informal talks underline the importance of this relationship in a trade and economic sense,” she said. “We’re working very hard with the Canadian government and ministries to put in place a sort of safety net in the event of a no-deal Brexit, so that businesses can continue unaffected.”
The Brexit vote to be held on January 15th will determine if the UK implements a transition period for trade agreements (if accepted), or if the UK effectively cuts ties with the European Union after March 29th, relying on World Trade Organization regulations (if rejected).
However, early reports indicate that the parliamentary vote will be overwhelming rejected by MPs, as the deal, negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May, has received widespread criticism for effectively keeping the UK in the European Union “in all but name”.
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The High Commissioner also stressed that the informal talks between the British and Canadian governments would result in a deal that would continue a strong and positive trading arrangement between the two countries. Issues such as air travel and reciprocal business procedures would be covered, while CETA (the current trading arrangement between Canada and the EU) would continue to apply for the UK as it negotiates its departure from the European Union.
Both governments have already negotiated crucial agreements ahead of Brexit concerning space cooperation and nuclear arrangements.
Many MPs in Canada, and recently the Conservative Party of Canada, have also indicated that free movement for CANZUK citizens would likely be implemented with any upcoming trade deal.
Support for reciprocal migration between the CANZUK countries has also been encouraged by Ministers in Australia and New Zealand, using the current Closer Economic Relations trade agreement and the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement as templates for closer diplomatic ties between the four countries.
CANZUK International will continue to advocate for trade and migration agreements between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom as part of any post-Brexit negotiations, and will aim to secure such arrangements as quickly as possible between the four governments.
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