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

34 Columbia Basin projects to get kids active

Columbia Basin Trust gives over $500,000 in PLAYS Capital Improvement Grants

Centennials end Trail Smoke Eaters’ win streak

The Trail Smoke Eaters lost a close 6-4 match to the Merritt Centennials on Saturday

Itty bitty art

VISAC Gallery is located in the basement of the Selkirk College building in downtown Trail

Free Family Day fun for Greater Trail

Public skating in Rossland and Trail are a few of the free offerings for families this weekend

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Most Read