By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Canada and the UK reached a new interim trade deal, Saturday, beating the Brexit deadline of Dec. 31.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson made the announcement at the beginning of the virtual G20 Summit.
The trade deal between the two countries is essentially a continuation of the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) which included Canada and Britain, but the portion between Canada and the UK would have expired when Brexit kicked in.
Trudeau said the deal allows the two countries the time to work out a more detailed deal.
“Now we get to continue to work on a bespoke [tailored] agreement, a comprehensive agreement over the coming years that will really maximize our trade opportunities and boost things for everyone,” Trudeau said.
Johnson tweeted his enthusiasm for the “fantastic trade agreement” that keeps the Canadian market open for the UK.
“British businesses export everything from electric cars to sparkling wine to Canada, and today’s deal will ensure that trade goes from strength to strength.”
Called the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement, the deal ensures that tariffs will not be applied on 98% of goods traded between the two nations.
Trade between the two totaled CAN$29 billion in 2019.
“We knew that having an interim agreement would be crucial to ensure that businesses, exporters, our workers on both sides of the Atlantic have the continuity and the predictability that they need,” Canada’s International Trade Minister Mary Ng said. “This trade continuity agreement between Canada and the United Kingdom assures we maintain our strong and mutually beneficial trade relationship.”
The deal must be approved by both countries and in Canada, that means approval from Parliament.
Canadian opposition politicians have complained there is not enough time to study all provisions of the deal in detail before the traditional extended holiday break.