Canadian officials share ‘technical’ details of EU trade deal with UK counterparts

31 January 2017 9:54am

15 July 2016. By Duncan Lumsden.

Canadian trade officials have been in contact with UK counterparts to explain the shape of Ottawa’s trade deal with the EU, as the UK prepares to consider new trading relationships with Europe and the rest of the world.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s trade minister, told UK radio this morning that officials had been “sharing at a technical level” details of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta).

Freeland declined to be drawn on the possibility of a post-Brexit UK-Canada deal, but stressed the “complexity” of such arrangements.

The Ceta deal is more than 2,000 pages long, she pointed out, adding “it certainly takes a big, very expert team to negotiate” trade deals.

She said relations between Canada and the UK were “really strong . . . we’re not just friends, we’re family,” she told the BBC current-affairs “Today” program.

Canada exports 11 billion pounds (US$14.6 billion) worth of goods to the UK, and imports 8 billion pounds worth from Britain in return, she said.

The Ceta deal meant the UK and Canada “have a closer foundation for a trading relationship,” she added, but wouldn’t say whether Ceta could form the basis for a post-Brexit relationship too.

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