The UK is poised to roll over its trade agreement with Canada to replace the existing deal it has through EU membership, Bloomberg reports.
An announcement is expected within days, according to sources who spoke to the news service.
Without a deal, the UK and Canada would face tariffs on trade from 1 January, when the UK will no longer be part of CETA, the EU-Canada trade agreement signed in 2017.
Liz Truss, the UK trade secretary, hopes the deal will pave the way to even closer links with the UK’s 12th-biggest trading partner. Trade between the two countries was worth about £17 billion in 2019.
“We’re determined to reach a deal with Canada before the end of the year – it will help our trade from cars to beef to fish to whiskey,” Truss said in Parliament on Thursday.
“I do hope that in the future, as Canada is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership which has advanced chapters in areas like data and digital, that we will be able to go much further and build a much deeper relationship with Canada.”
Speaking at an online event hosted by the Financial Times last week, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said a deal was there for the asking.
“I know that rolling over and demonstrating free trade deals is important for the UK government. Canada is a really easy one. We’re there for it. We’d like to do it, so I am very hopeful that it’s going to get done but that’s up to the UK government.”
Reuters reports that a spokesperson for Boris Johnson told reporters: “We’re committed to securing a continuity trade deal with Canada before the end of the transition period. Talks are at an advanced stage and are progressing well.”
Boost for Boris
According to City AM, the Canada trade agreement would be a major boost for the UK prime minister after trade talks with the EU stalled again this week.
The Canada deal would also be the second major trade accord announced by Britain in less than a month, after it agreed to terms with Japan in late October. Negotiations are ongoing with other countries including Australia, New Zealand and the US.
The UK needs to roll over 14 other EU agreements by the end of the year to avoid defaulting to WTO terms. There are outstanding agreements covering Mexico, Turkey and Singapore, which cover about £60bn of trade with Britain.