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The new deal preserves CETA’s key provision until a more comprehensive agreement can be reached later: the elimination of tariffs on 98 per cent of Canadian exports to Britain, which is Canada’s fifth largest trading partner with $29 billion in two-way merchandise trade in 2019.
International Trade Minister Mary Ng said legislation would be introduced in Parliament soon so the interim deal could be ratified. Ng noted that Canada did not give Britain any additional market access to British cheese, preserving the status quo of the country’s supply management system.
Canada’s dairy industry has complained loudly in the past about the additional foreign access to the Canadian market under previous trade deals, including CETA and the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement.
Ng and her British counterpart, Liz Truss, committed to negotiating a new and more comprehensive agreement in the coming year.
But few details were known about the current interim agreement. Breaking with past practice during trade negotiations, there were no pre-announcement briefings for journalists and no text was released.
Canada’s business community offered a mixed reaction shortly after the deal was announced, welcoming the economic certainty the interim deal offered while asking for more specifics on the arrangement.
“We call on the Canadian and British government to publish details of the agreement so that businesses can understand all the practical details,” said Mark Agnew, the international policy director for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.