Theresa May has said she expects a “seamless transition” to a new trading relationship with Canada once Britain leaves the European Union.
The Prime Minister echoed the optimism of her Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, following talks in Ottawa.
Her one-day visit is focused on trade and the row involving aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.
A new trade deal between the EU and Canada comes into force on Thursday, and the agreement will eliminate 98% of Canadian import duties – something Downing Street has described as a “significant boon” for UK exporters.
However, when Britain leaves the EU it will fall out of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which has been championed by the UK and took seven years to finalise.
Image: Mrs May has said she will do ‘all she can’ to solve the Bombardier dispute
Speaking at a news conference, Mrs May said: “We want to ensure that when we leave the European Union, for businesses and people, that change is as smooth and orderly as possible.
“And working on CETA as becoming the first of the bilateral trade relationships between the UK and Canada that means that seamless transition can take place.
“People will know the basis on which that trading relationship will be set up.
“We will be having a working group, which obviously will be looking at the details of how that transition will operate in detail.”
A joint working group between the UK and Canada will prepare the ground for a bilateral deal based on CETA to be signed soon after Brexit.
Mr Trudeau said Canada “respects the need” for the UK to determine its future outside the EU.
Image: Mr Trudeau said he also wants a seamless transition to a new trading partnership
He added: “But at the same time, we know there is in place CETA – as the UK has demonstrated time and time again its support for this trade measure.
“We will be able to move forward in a way that benefit, in a smooth transition, that keeps the essence of CETA applicable to the UK in ways that will respects the EU’s requirements and rules.”
Mr Trudeau said earlier he also wants a seamless transition to a new trading partnership, comments that bolster Mrs May’s hopes of using CETA as a model for a new bilateral agreement between Britain and Canada to be introduced quickly post-Brexit.
The PM’s first visit to Canada comes ahead of an expected ruling for US trade authorities on allegations by Boeing that Canadian firm Bombardier has been dumping its C Series jets on the US market.
Mrs May has already spoken about the issue in a phone call with US President Donald Trump, in which she voiced fears about the impact a possible financial penalty for the company could have on jobs in Northern Ireland.
Bombardier is the largest manufacturing employer there – and the PM is understood to have been pressed to take action by Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, whose 10 MPs are propping up Mrs May’s minority government.
Mrs May said ahead of her talks with Mr Trudeau that she would do “all she can” to solve the dispute.
Source: SKY News Feed