British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 18 (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Canada, U.K. using CETA as new trade model

Long-heralded Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA, comes into effect Thursday

Those feeling anxious about the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the rest of the world could use a little predictability, and both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May say Canada can help.

The two countries are working towards a new bilateral free trade deal to take effect after the U.K. achieves its so-called Brexit from the European Union, the two world leaders revealed this week.

What’s more, they said, the template for that deal would be the long-heralded Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA, between Canada and the EU that comes largely into effect Thursday.

“There is no question that CETA, which eliminates well over 90 per cent of all barriers to trade between Canada and the European Union … will make an excellent basis for ensuring a smooth transition in a post-Brexit world,” Trudeau told a joint news conference.

“After that, there will obviously be opportunities for us to look at particular details that could be improved upon for the specific needs and opportunities in the bilateral relationship between the U.K. and Canada.

“But as a strong basis for a smooth transition, CETA is perfectly designed, and will be able to ensure — for investors, for companies and for workers and consumers — a smooth transition.”

READ MORE: Kelowna-Lake Country MP urging companies to find out more about CETA

READ MORE: Will free trade with the EU benefit everyone in Canada?

The British prime minister agreed that using the Canada-EU agreement as the basis for a forthcoming new bilateral deal makes sense for everyone.

“We want to ensure that for businesses and individuals, that there is as smooth a changeover, when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, as possible; we want to see as little disruption to economies and to people’s lives,” said May.

“That’s why we believe it makes sense to take the trade agreement — which the U.K. is part of, it’s part of the European Union — with Canada, and say that that is the basis at that point at which we leave for a bilateral relationship with the U.K. and Canada.”

May said she has already discussed the approach with the European Union.

The Canada-EU trade deal took seven years to come together — including some tense eleventh-hour negotiations with Wallonia, a tiny region of Belgium that ended up holding a deal-killing veto over the pact — but Trudeau suggested things would move more quickly this time.

“Within the European Union, the U.K. is the largest trading partner that Canada has, so the U.K. was deeply involved throughout those negotiations towards CETA, obviously, over the past seven years,” Trudeau said.

“It will form the basis for the way we move forward in a post-Brexit Europe.”

May also spoke of working “swiftly.”

The U.K. is Canada’s fifth-largest merchandise trade partner, amounting to more than $25.3 billion in both directions last year.

The trade deal, however, was not the only headline-making development out of May’s first official visit with Trudeau, who took the opportunity to ramp up his government’s fight with U.S. aerospace giant Boeing.

The Liberal government, Trudeau said, won’t do business with a company he accuses of attacking the domestic aerospace industry and trying to put people out of work.

Boeing launched a trade dispute with Montreal-based rival Bombardier earlier this year.

May also has a stake in the dispute, as Bombardier has a factory in Northern Ireland.

The two leaders met Monday ahead of Trudeau’s trip to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly, where May will also be speaking this week, including on ways to curb the use of the Internet by terrorists.

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

First Past the Post is the only option

Letter to the Editor by Dieter Bogs of Trail

Acid tainted vehicles from Trail spills, held for evidence

Contaminated vehicles are evidence in ICBC’s lawsuit against “negligent parties”

Kootenay Boundary swears in 7 new directors

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary swears in 7 new directors and 6 returning directors

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Most Read