In recent years, the United Kingdom (UK) has been exploring new trade opportunities outside the European Union (EU). One country that has caught the attention of UK trade negotiators is Canada. But does the UK have a free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada?
The short answer is no, the UK does not currently have an FTA with Canada. However, both countries have expressed interest in negotiating one. In fact, the UK has identified Canada as a priority trading partner outside the EU.
So, why might the UK be interested in a free trade agreement with Canada? For one, Canada is the world`s 10th largest economy and has a well-developed services sector, making it an attractive trade partner. Additionally, an FTA with Canada could help the UK diversify its trade portfolio and reduce its reliance on EU countries.
Negotiating a free trade agreement is a complex process that can take years to finalize. However, both countries have taken steps to move the process forward. In November 2020, the UK and Canada announced that they had reached an agreement in principle on a “rollover” trade deal. The deal essentially replicates the existing trade relationship between the two countries under the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
While the rollover deal is not a full free trade agreement, it does provide some continuity and stability for UK-Canada trade while negotiations for a comprehensive FTA take place. The rollover agreement is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2021, when the UK`s transition period with the EU ends.
So, while the UK does not currently have a free trade agreement with Canada, there is certainly interest on both sides to negotiate one. The recent rollover agreement is a positive step towards this goal, and trade negotiators from both countries will likely continue to work towards a comprehensive FTA in the coming years.