The United Kingdom and Canada are set to begin talks for a comprehensive trade deal this autumn, commencing discussions for tariff-free trade on goods and services, and potential negotiations for mutual skills recognition and mobility.
The United Kingdom’s Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena MP, endorsed the proposed timeline, emphasizing that discussions will begin after consultations have taken place regarding what should be in a future agreement.
In March, Canada ratified a temporary trade agreement with the UK after it left the European Union in 2020.
The agreement, which largely replicates provisions of the arrangement Canada has with the EU, came into effect last month and primarily maintains preferential access to markets for exporters and businesses.
Last month, the Canadian government conducted public outreach and sought opinions from members of the public about what should be included in a future comprehensive deal with the UK.
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Jayawardena stated that he believes the existing agreement should give both countries a head start in talks, rather than beginning from square one, to craft a deal unique to each country’s economic strengths and help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID has been a tough time for everyone, no one is denying that. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, we’ve learned a lot about our economies, we learned a lot about what is possible,” he said during a virtual event hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The upcoming trade deal is expected to advance the current temporary arrangement and potentially provide mobility rights and skills recognition for both British and Canadian citizens.
On May 12th, a Professional Qualifications Bill was introduced to the UK parliament which will seek to ensure skilled professionals from around the world will have their qualifications recognised in the UK. On May 18th, CANZUK International will also meet with senior Members of Parliament to discuss mutual skills recognition between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and promote the advantages of pursuing skills recognition in light of the proposed Bill and the upcoming UK-Australia trade deal.
Mutual skills recognition between the four nations will not only provide greater working opportunities for citizens, but compliment subsequent CANZUK arrangements such as freedom of movement.
CANZUK International will continue its ongoing engagement with Canadian and British MPs, promoting policies respective of free movement, trade, foreign policy cooperation and skills recognition between the four CANZUK countries.
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