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And Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski has said the news represents a massive endorsement of the Prime Minister’s Global Britain strategy. The Prime Minister signed off on the deal during a video call with Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau this afternoon, the Department for International Trade (DIT) confirmed.
Under its terms, the UK and Canada will continue trading under the same terms as the current European Union agreement after the conclusion of the Brexit transition period in an announcement which will come as a big relief to businesses concerned about the prospect of high tariffs.
The Government has said the agreement in principle paves the way for negotiations to get underway aimed at thrashing out a new comprehensive deal with Canada.
The deal replicates the settlement agreed by the EU with Canada in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) and does not give any additional benefits to UK businesses.
However, the DIT said it avoids an estimated £42 million of tariffs exporters in the UK would have faced if the Government had failed to get a deal.
We are exposing the myth peddled by Eurocrats that we need their services to undertake these negotiations
Daniel Kawczynski MP
Ministers hope future negotiations will go further on “digital trade, women’s economic empowerment and the environment”, according to DIT.
Mr Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, told Express.co.uk: “This now makes it clear that 54 countries and rising every week have now signed agreements with us that are at worst equitable with the ones we had through EU or slightly better as in case of Japan.
“We are exposing the myth peddled by Eurocrats that we need their services to undertake these negotiations.
“Our negotiators Ministers and civil servants proving to to be much more adroit in negotiating for Britain and this is just the beginning.
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Industry groups expressed relief that businesses will not face higher trade tariffs with Canada next month.
Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry said: “There was always a danger that the end of the transition period would mean losing wider international market access that we enjoyed as part of EU membership.
“The fact that this new agreement upholds the small business chapter that was previously in place is very welcome.
“We look forward to such chapters being at the centre of all future UK trade deals.”
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Confederation of British Industry director-general Josh Hardie described the announcement as “great news for businesses”, stressing the potential to “lay the foundations for an even deeper trade agreement”.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Today’s agreement underpins £20 billion worth of trade and locks in certainty for thousands of jobs.
“We look forward to striking a new more ambitious deal next year with the aim of creating more opportunities for businesses and improving the lives of people across the country.”
Before it is formally signed, the UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement will be need to be subjected to final legal checks.
The DTI indicated a deal was close on Thursday, issuing a statement in which it said: “Trade talks are at an advanced stage and progressing well.
“The UK is committed to seeking to secure a continuity trade deal with Canada before the end of the transition period.”
A statement issued said the announcement paved the way for negotiations to begin in 2021 on a tailor-made deal that could cover more areas such as digital trade, the environment and women’s economic empowerment.
The government says in less than two years it has agreed trade deals with 53 countries, accounting for 164 billion pounds of British bilateral trade.
The news will raise hopes of more agreements to follow in the coming days prior to the end of the year.
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, an adviser to the UK Board of Trade, has told MPs there was an “eagerness” on both sides to secure a UK-Australia free trade deal before Christmas.
Mr Abbott said: “I know that on both sides there is an eagerness to try to get the Australia deal done before Christmas.
“Ideally a deal between Britain and Australia would involve no tariffs, no quotas, as full as possible mutual recognition of standards and qualifications, and as free as possible movement of people for well-paid work, not welfare.”
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