UK on the brink of signing continuity trade deal with Canada in time for Brexit
Boris Johnson with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in 2019 (Image: PA)
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The UK is in the final stages of agreeing a “continuity” trade deal with Canada in time for Brexit, it is believed.
Government officials believe they are close to announcing a pact that would roll over the benefits of an EU-Canada deal in the UK.
Any deal would be a boost for the government, and Canada accounted for 1.5% of all trade with the UK in 2018.
By comparison the EU, with which the UK is still trying to seal a deal, accounts for 46.9% of trade with the UK.
A continuity deal could also raise questions about whether the UK will continue to follow EU rules in its dealings with Canada.
And it would likely not go any further than the arrangements the UK currently enjoys with the country anyway.
Any deal would be a boost for the nation, but not nearly as much as getting an EU trade deal
(Image: Getty Images)
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That is despite Boris Johnson ’s pledge of a "global Britain" that can strike out alone and negotiate better agreements than in the EU.
Last week Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned the UK may not “really have the bandwidth within government to move forward on this.”
However, UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss today insisted: “We're determined to reach a deal with Canada before the end of the year."
She added: “What we're negotiating at the moment is the vital continuity agreement.
“But I do hope that in the future, as Canada is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership … that we will be able to go much further and build a much deeper relationship."
Trade Secretary Liz Truss today insisted: “We're determined to reach a deal with Canada before the end of the year"
(Image: Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Government officials confirmed talks over a continuity deal were now in the final stages.
Some reports suggested an announcement could come as soon as today.
The UK Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We are 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."