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Canada-UK free trade deal paused

Canada-UK free trade deal paused

The free deal with Canada is one of many global plans the UK initiated after deciding to leave the EU.

By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Image via Getty Images, MicroStockHub

Everybody step back and take a deep breath.

After both sides groused about the lack of access to agricultural markets, the UK suspended discussion with Canada about comporting a free trade deal between the countries.

Despite the pause, the talks are admittedly still a work in progress, having first begun in March 2022. The UK had initiated the talks—one of many economic deals it is working on around the globe—after announcing it was leaving the European Union (EU).

While having many benefits for the UK, leaving the EU also caused it to miss out on existing EU free trade deals.

According to a statement from Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng, Canada was not happy with the pause in negotiations.

“Their [UK] decision to continue to maintain market access barriers for our agriculture industry and unwillingness to reach a mutual agreement hasonly stalled negotiations," noted the statement.

For Canadian farmers, there’s the complaint that they have been shut out of the UK beef market because of regulations banning the use of hormones.

For Canada (and the US), there are complaints that the UK remains under the thumb of the EU and its push for greater progress towards turning its agriculture into a more organic farming industry—and that its trade partners should follow suit.

In the face of Canada’s disappointment in the trade talks stalling, a UK government spokesperson wrote on X that "we reserve the right to pause negotiations with any country if progress is not being made."

Before Britain left the EU trading sphere at the end of 2020, Canada rolled over existing trade arrangements to ensure free trade could continue.

However, as of 20243, some of those agreement dates have come and gone.

Cheese access is one contentious issue, as Canada has complained that the UK wasn’t interested in working quickly to renegotiate the continuance of the deal.

As the late great comedic actor Terry-Thomas said, “Hard cheese, old boy.”


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