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While Brexit negotiations between the UK and the European Union have been gridlocked over issues such as fishing and state aid, a no deal outcome is looking more and more likely.
But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Ottawa is “there for” a trade deal with the UK.
The Canadian Prime Minister said during an online conference: “I think we’re ready to have it done before January 1.
“One of the challenges is bandwidth.
“The UK hasn’t had to negotiate trade deals in the past few decades so there is an issue of not really having the bandwidth within Government to move forward on this.
“Canada is a really easy one – we’re there for it, we’d like to do it, so I’m very hopeful that it’s going to get done, but that is really up to the UK government.”
Last month, Mr Trudeau claimed work was already underway to ensure an agreement between Canada and the UK was in place before the end of the year.
He told a virtual news conference he was “very optimistic” a roll-over agreement, based on the EU’s trade pact with Ottawa, could be concluded with Britain in the coming weeks.
It was previously claimed Canada would refuse to extend its trade deal with the EU to the UK if there was no Brexit agreement.
Back in September, international trade secretary Liz Truss announced negotiations with Canada had begun.
In a tweet, Ms Truss wrote: “Trade talks with Canada have commenced.
“The aim is to provide continuity for businesses by the end of the transition period.
“Both the UK and Canada are committed to protecting and strengthening our £19.7billion trading relationship.”
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Last year, Ottawa withdrew from trade talks after the UK outlined a temporary regime which could have cut tariffs on almost all imports.
But back in May, the government revised its tariff strategy and put a deal back on the table.
Earlier this year, David Collins, a Professor of International Economic Law at City, University of London, claimed Britain should be focussing on a Free Trade Agreement with Canada.
Mr said: “The Canadian Minister of International Trade, Mary Ng, announced last week in the Canadian Parliament that her team is working on a transition agreement for UK-Canada trade once the Brexit implementation period ends in the new year.
“This sentiment has been echoed by the UK Department of International Trade.
“Since the immediate aim appears to be to achieve continuity for businesses, this suggests that initial arrangements will constitute a rollover of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which Canada concluded with the EU four years ago.”
He continued: “Access for services suppliers will be a top priority for the UK in pursuing an FTA with Canada, since this is where the UK’s economic strength lies.
“The UK will accordingly want access to Canada’s financial sector, especially the insurance industry.
“Progress here will not be easy since Canada’s financial services market is tightly controlled, but the UK’s widely-respected regulatory standards in this area could help persuade Canada to open its doors.
“Enhanced mutual recognition of professionals, including lawyers, would mark improvements from CETA which only grants very basic commitments.
“A shared legal heritage makes a strong case for further liberalisation on this front than was achieved by the EU.
“The Canada-UK FTA could also include greater commitments on digital trade than were contained in the CETA, reflecting both countries’ interest in liberalising this sector – in Canada’s case as part of a broader strategy of diversification (away from its reliance on the extractive sector) and in for the UK to ensure its continued role as a world leader in technology and the burgeoning digital services economy.”
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