UK's Sunak says he's seeing genuine progress in Brexit talks

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Canada and Britain signed the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement on Saturday as an interim post-Brexit trade agreement that will take effect on January 1, 2021 when Britain cuts its final ties to the European Union.

"In under two years, the United Kingdom government has agreed trade deals with 53 countries accounting for 164 billion pounds (about 217.89 billion dollars) of United Kingdom bilateral trade", the statement said against the backdrop of the current impasse of the trade talks between the European Union and Britain.

Britain and Canada struck a rollover trade deal on Saturday (Nov 21) to protect the flow of US$27 billion-worth (S$36 billion) of goods and services between them after Brexit, and vowed to start talks on a bespoke agreement next year. For Canada, the transition has meant CETA continued to apply to its trade relations with Britain. That's because it's in an 11-month transition - created to give both sides some time to negotiate a new trade deal. Britain is Canada's fifth-largest trading partner, with $29 billion in two-way merchandise trade in 2019.

Goldy Hyder, president of the Business Council of Canada, said the transitional deal will prevent a disruption of Canada-British trade, but noted he wanted to see its specific terms.

The U.K. government says the stopgap agreement paves the way for future negotiations on a new tailor-made U.K.

DIT said that the bilateral agreement also takes Britain "one step closer to accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)", of which Canada is a member.

"The UK and Canada have locked in their existing trading relationship, worth 20 billion pounds (about 26.57 billion USA dollars), and agreed to begin negotiating a new more ambitious trade deal as early as next year", said a statement issued by the DIT.

Britain imports products such as salmon and maple syrup from the Commonwealth country that also recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

The U.K. has now secured post-Brexit trade deals with 53 countries accounting for 164 billion pounds ($218 billion) of bilateral trade, the government said.

He told the Sunday Times that he hoped Britain and the European Union would secure an agreement.

The Canada deal would be the second major trade accord announced by Britain in less than a month, after it agreed to terms with Japan in late October.

"I think we've been known to be a country of traders (...) we're a small speck in the greater global world and the more relationships we can have that have good trade possibilities is vital to the Canadian economy..." said Durocher.



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