Looking forward to a new era of UK-Canada free trade

Today marks the provisional application of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta).

Ceta opens the door to a new era of UK-Canada relations, enabling companies to trade easily by removing 98 per cent of tariffs on all exports.

Canada has a huge demand for world-class British products and services. From Jaguar Land Rovers produced in the Midlands, to local cheese made in North Wales and spirits distilled in Dorset, Canada bought £7bn worth of British goods and services in 2015 alone.

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Likewise, Britain will see reduced tariffs on popular Canadian imports, including iconic industrial goods, medical devices and, of course, maple syrup. British companies will also have an increased ability to access procurement markets at different levels of government in Canada, as well exchange expertise more easily. The Canadian government recently launched a new infrastructure bank, consolidating major projects underpinned by a commitment to renew and rebuild across the vast country.

It is clear that the opportunity is there for businesses and entrepreneurs of all kinds to tap into the considerable demand for products, skills and expertise on both sides of the Atlantic.

It is also important to note that Ceta will have no impact on food and environmental standards in the UK or Canada. Decisions on public services, such as the NHS, will remain in the hands of the respective governments.

Canada and Britain’s bilateral relationship is one based on shared values and a deep commitment to the benefits of global free trade.

As one of Britain’s strongest and closest allies, the UK serves as Canada’s largest export market in the EU. The UK is also Canada’s seventh biggest source of goods imports, and second greatest source of service imports.

As the world’s 10th largest economy with a population of over 35m, Canada offers vast opportunities for UK exporters. That makes Ceta hugely significant in both its scope and size. It will remove unnecessary barriers for businesses, generating both jobs and economic growth in both countries. And it will be good for consumers too. UK-Canada bilateral trade naturally expected to increase in the coming years.

Britain’s Department for International Trade will continue to help UK companies to make the most of this boost and lay solid foundations for our trading ties with Canada.

Likewise, we are looking forward to seeing Canadian companies will bring innovation, competition and dynamism to the British market.

Our similar political, legal, social and business conventions make it easy for us to work together. This was exemplified by Theresa May’s visit to Canada earlier this week and her meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Both leaders welcomed the deepening of trade relations, and agreed to seek a seamless transition of Ceta as Britain exits the EU.

Canada and the UK recognise and support each other’s leading roles as powerful, global nations which champion free trade. As a result of this shared commitment, global opportunities continue to open for businesses on both sides.

We look forward to Ceta serving as a shining example of how countries can embrace progressive trade, paving the way for a bright, prosperous and more open future.

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