The United Kingdom and Canada are close to signing a new trade agreement. A new trade agreement would replace the existing deal that Britain already has through its European Union membership, which comes to an end on December 31. The agreement would be a boost for officials’ efforts to plot a new course for Britain as a standalone trading nation outside of the EU bloc. People familiar with the matter anonymously said that they expect an announcement within days.
If they don’t reach an agreement, the U.K. and Canada would be looking at tariffs on trade starting January 1. That’s when the transition period wraps up, and the U.K. won’t be a part of the CETA agreement that came into effect in 2017.
Total trade between the United Kingdom and Canada is estimated to be worth approximately 17 billion pounds, or $23 billion, in 2019. “Trade talks are advancing and making good progress,” says Britain’s Department for International Trade in a written statement. “The U.K. is committed to seeking to secure a continuity trade deal with Canada before the end of the transition period.” The U.K. is Canada’s third-largest export market after the U.S. and China.