The deal came before the Brexit deadline.
Rodrigo Diaz M.
Canada and Great Britain reached a new trade agreement, allowing both countries, with a long-standing friendship, to proclaim a commercial triumph in the face of the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The interim agreement exceeded the impending Brexit deadline of December 31, replacing Canada’s current agreement with Great Britain under the European Union, which covers trade between the two countries. The pact gives Canada and Britain one more year to reach a broader deal, while also avoiding a no-transaction scenario that would have triggered new tariffs on a number of Canadian exports beginning January 1.
Few details were given about the new interim agreement, breaking with previous practice during trade negotiations. There were no prior briefings for journalists and no communication was published in this regard.
“This is a good time,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announcing the deal during a video conference with his British counterpart, Boris Johnson.
“Free trade is an important part of how we are going to recover from COVID,” Johnson said. “This is a time when climate change will be tackled, but hundreds of thousands of jobs focused on green technologies will also be created.”
Trudeau explained that the new pact sent a strong message about the importance of world trade.
“This is another sign that our collaboration, cooperation and deep, deep friendship and partnership is really important not only for the people of our two countries, but also for the people of the world,” he said.
Britain’s decision to leave the European Union after its Brexit referendum means that the Global Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, will no longer apply to the country by the end of the year.
The new agreement maintains the key provision of CETA: the elimination of tariffs on 98% of Canadian exports to Britain until a final agreement can be reached later.
Britain is Canada’s fifth largest trading partner, with $ 29 trillion in merchandise trade between the two nations in 2019.
Canadian and British negotiators had been meeting since the summer with the aim of reaching a new agreement.