LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and Canada struck a continuity trade deal on Saturday to maintain the flow of goods and services worth $27 billion between the two countries after Brexit, and vowed to deepen ties with talks on a bespoke agreement next year.
Britain is negotiating several rollover bilateral trade deals to come into force once it exits a transition arrangement with the European Union at the end of this year, with many of them simply replacing the terms the bloc had already agreed.
Britain’s Department for International Trade said the “agreement in principle” to roll over the EU-Canada trading arrangement 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.
“Today’s agreement underpins 20 billion pounds worth of trade and locks in certainty for the thousands of jobs,” trade minister Liz Truss said in a statement.
“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.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trying to shape a “global Britain” that can strike out alone and negotiate better agreements than the EU. So far, his critics point out, the deals have largely been the same.
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.
Truss said the agreement would prevent an estimated 42 million pounds worth of tariffs being applied on goods such as cars, beef and fish.
The UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement will be subject to final legal checks before it is formally signed.