“This continued sign of our deep and deep collaboration, cooperation and friendship and partnership is really important not only for the people of our two countries, but also for people around the world,” the Prime Minister added.
Johnson said free trade would help the two countries “bounce back” to rebuild their economies after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But I also think that Canada and the UK share a perspective on greener reconstruction,” he said.
“And by using that, it’s a time to fight climate change, but also to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in green technologies.”
Britain’s decision to leave the EU after its Brexit referendum means the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, will no longer apply to the country at the end of the year.
The new agreement preserves the key provision of CETA until a more comprehensive agreement can be reached later: the elimination of tariffs on 98% of Canadian exports to Britain, which is the fifth Canada’s trading partner with $ 29 billion in two-way merchandise trade in 2019.
International Trade Minister Mary Ng said the legislation will soon be presented to parliament so that the interim agreement can be ratified. Ng noted that Canada had not given Britain additional access to the UK cheese market, preserving the status quo of the country’s supply management system.
In the past, the Canadian dairy industry has strongly complained about additional foreign access to the Canadian market under previous trade agreements, including CETA and the new Canada-United States-Mexico agreement.
Ng and his British counterpart, Liz Truss, are committed to negotiating a new, more comprehensive deal in the coming year. She said the new agreement will explore cooperation around women’s economic empowerment, the environment and digital trade.
The interim agreement “was not just a matter of cut and paste” of the existing CETA, Ng said.
But few details were known about the current interim agreement. Breaking with past practice during trade negotiations, there were no pre-announcement briefings for journalists and no text was published.
The Canadian business community offered a mixed reaction shortly after the deal was announced, welcoming the economic certainty offered by the interim deal while asking for more details on the deal.
“We are calling on the Canadian and UK governments to release the details of the agreement so that companies can understand all the practical details,” said Mark Agnew, director of international policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“We also call on the government and parliamentarians to work together to ensure the swift passage of the necessary implementing legislation to provide certainty to Canadian businesses as soon as possible.
Dan Darling, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, described “the transition agreement as a welcome interim measure, but said it was not enough”.
He called on the government to address the market access problems facing Canadian producers under the existing agreement with the EU.
“For other agri-food exporters, a transitional arrangement only reinforces a situation that remains unacceptable under CETA due to the persistence of trade barriers that continue to hamper Canadian exports,” he said. .
“We therefore urge the two sides to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible in order to achieve a comprehensive and more ambitious pact that removes tariff and non-tariff barriers, provides liberal rules of origin and creates conditions. fair competition. will enable increased trade and provide commercially viable two-way growth for agribusiness.
Britain officially left the EU at the end of January, but the two sides operated for an 11-month transition period, which for Canada means CETA continued to operate. apply to its trade relations with Great Britain.
Canadian and UK negotiators have been meeting since the summer to conclude what has been called an interim bilateral deal that incorporates many aspects of CETA and would avoid triggering the imposition of new UK tariffs on Canadian exports like fruit , beef and automobiles on January 1. .
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 21, 2020.
Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press