On March 12, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that it is launching public consultations as it ramps up its efforts on new trade negotiations with the United Kingdom. Further to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom committed to continue their trade relationship, as established under the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), pursuant to the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement (TCA) (see “Preparing for Brexit – Canada and the United Kingdom Clinch a Transitional Trade Continuity Deal”). While steps are taken to implement the TCA, interim measures agreed under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) have ensured that goods traded between Canada and the UK continue to enjoy uninterrupted preferential tariff treatment. The interim measure implemented in Canada is the United Kingdom Trade Continuity Remission Order, 2021 (see “Maintaining the Status Quo – The Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Remission Order, 2021”).
Key provisions in Article IV of the TCA (i) require Canada and the UK to commence negotiations on a more permanent regional trade agreement (RTA) within one year of the TCA’s entry into force, and (ii) establish the objective of concluding those negotiations within three years of the TCA’s entry into force.
In addition to concluding a bilateral trade agreement with Canada, the United Kingdom has taken steps to begin the process of negotiating its accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a plurilateral RTA to which Canada is already a party. The United Kingdom submitted a notification of intent letter to begin the CPTPP accession process on February 1, 2021..
The purpose of the Government of Canada’s consultations is to provide the Canadian public and other interested stakeholders (e.g., industry associations, enterprises, and other organizations) with an opportunity to submit information, views, requests, and questions that will help to shape Canada’s priorities in the trade negotiations with the United Kingdom.
More information on the consultation process and how to make submissions is provided on the dedicated Global Affairs Canada website. Canadians anywhere in the world can participate in the public consultations process, which will remain open until April 27, 2021.