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UK and Canada commit to post-Brexit trade deal

Britain and Canada on Saturday resolved to negotiate a new bilateral trade deal in 2021, rolling over the terms of the EU’s CETA trade agreement with Canada.

Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau sealed the rollover pact in a video call early this morning. British Trade Secretary Liz Truss and her Canadian counterpart Trade Minister Mary Ng also joined in on the call.

The deal will ensure that nearly £20 billion in annual trade between the countries keeps flowing after Britain leaves the EU on January 1, 2021. British businesses export £11.4 billion worth of goods and services to Canada each year. Sectors that stand to prosper from continued trade in the U.K. include carmakers and the food and drink industries.

British businesses celebrated the news. “The new agreement is good news for Scotch Whisky exports,” a spokesperson for the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said of the deal agreed in principle. They pointed out it “aims to secure fairer access for Scotch Whisky to the Canadian market” through commitments that address practices by provincial Liquor Boards in Canada that limit market access.

“This agreement doesn’t just confirm the continued removal of tariffs, but gives us some extra footing and mechanisms to engage with the Canadians on their complex alcohol market, which is controlled at a provincial level,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

The deal must now make its way through both houses of Canadian parliament before Christmas recess on December 11.

The U.K. and Canada are also set on negotiating a new tailor-made trade deal next year with ambitions to push for deeper cooperation on digital trade and the environment.

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