The two countries signed a continuity agreement in 2020
By Diego Flammini
Canada and the United Kingdom will enter trade negotiations in April.
Following the U.K.’s exit from the European Union (EU), the two countries signed a continuity agreement in 2020. It came into effect on April 1, 2021.
The agreement allows Canadian and British businesses to benefit from market access set out in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).
As part of that, both countries committed to beginning discussions on a bilateral trade agreement by April 1, 2022, and have a deal in place by April 1, 2024.
Trade Minister Mary Ng announced in December 2021 her intentions to begin trade conversations with the United Kingdom.
“By pursuing bilateral free trade negotiations with the United Kingdom, the Government of Canada will expand and strengthen trade ties with Canada’s third largest trading partner for combined goods and services,” she said in a statement.
Canada exported approximately $19 billion of goods to the UK in 2020.
Of that, about $150 million were cereals; meat, fish and seafood accounted for another $47 million, plus about $72 million in vegetable exports.
Prior to the trade negotiations in April, Canada and the UK could be at odds over beef imports relating to another trade agreement.
Britain hopes to join the CPTPP, and Canada, one of its members, wants Britain to allow beef containing hormones.
After it left the EU, Britain maintained the EU’s ban on beef containing hormones.
Allowing hormone-treated beef into the UK could harm British farmers, local farmers said.
“In simple terms, we shouldn’t be accepting beef where the standards of production are not equivalent to our own,” Neil Shand, CEO of the National Beef Association, told the Express.
Canada appears to be insistent on the issue.
A U.K. government memo indicates Canadian officials are pressing Britain to allow it to accept Canadian beef imports.
“On hormone treated beef Canada asked some probing questions and stated this will be an important issue for Canada in judging the U.K.'s compliance with CPTPP,” the memo said, Politico reported. However, Canada stopped short of describing the U.K. as non-compliant in this area.”
Farms.com has contacted the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance for comment on the upcoming bilateral trade discussions between Canada and the U.K.