Brexit delay means time for a Canada and Britain trade deal

Sajid Javid named UK Home Secretary
British Prime Minister Theresa May. (File Photo: IANS)

Britain’s envoy to Ottawa says the prolonged Brexit divorce from the European Union will give her country more time to forge a proper free-trade deal with Canada.

Britain is not legally allowed to engage in free trade negotiations until it has departed the EU, but High Commissioner Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque says her country’s top trade negotiator has been meeting regularly with Canada’s to sketch out the broad strokes of a two-country deal.

(180710) — RIGA, July 10, 2018 (Xinhua) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a joint press conference with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (not seen in picture) in Riga, Latvia, on July 10, 2018. Trudeau pledged sustained commitment to Latvia’s security during his visit to Riga on Tuesday, saying that Canada would extend its leadership of the NATO battalion stationed in the Baltic country for four more years. (Xinhua/Janis)

Britain remains part of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada as long as it is a member of the 28-country bloc.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Le Jeune d’Allegeershecque says Canadian and British negotiators are aiming to replicate CETA as much as possible in a two-way pact.

That includes technical discussions about particular chapters and topics, she tells The Canadian Press from London today, after a frustrated European Union, in an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May, granted Britain a Brexit reprieve until the end of October.

The Halloween extension avoids a messy no-deal departure from the EU that was to occur Friday, which would have triggered immediate tariffs on trade with other members.