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Theresa May expects 'seamless' transition to trading with Canada post-Brexit

Theresa May expects 'seamless' transition to trading with Canada post-Brexit

Theresa May will hold talks today with Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, to try to head off a trade dispute threatening thousands of British jobs.

Coming just days before the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta), an agreement between the European Union and Canada that took seven years to negotiate, is enacted on 21 September, the PM was hoping to use her trip to discuss the potential of Downing Street using Ceta as a model for a bilateral trade deal with Canada after Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019.

Under the EU-Canada agreement, which took seven years to negotiate, Canada agreed to eliminate 98 per cent of its import duties. The PM said she hopes to use CETA as the model for a bilateral trade deal for when the United Kingdom is excluded from it after Brexit, BBC reported.

A number of commercial deals are expected to be signed on her one-day visit as the Prime Minister also hosts a business round table with major Canadian investors into the UK.

May and Trudeau were expected to establish a new joint committee aimed at laying the groundwork for a separate deal between the two.

And Mrs May plans an agreement Canada is a "natural partner" for "strengthening and improving" the World Trade Organisation. The visit was about "looking ahead to our bright future" and both nations shared "ambitions to lead on the world stage and progressive values", including free trade and respect for worldwide law, May said.

But Mrs May's attempts to build global goodwill over Brexit was undermined over the weekend after Boris Johnson penned a lengthy article in the Daily Telegraph setting out his Brexit blueprint, on the eve of her Canadian trip and just days before she delivers a keynote Brexit speech in Florence.

His intervention also saw him revive the controversial claim, branded "misleading" by the official statistician, that £350 million a week could be freed up for the NHS by Brexit.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said Mrs May's credibility would be "reduced to zero" if she failed to sack the Foreign Secretary on Monday.

No 10 has appointed Andrew Percy, the former northern powerhouse minister, as her new trade envoy for Canada.

The UK-Canada bilateral trade relationship is worth £15.2 billion annually and Britain is the second-biggest destination for Canadian investment overseas, with £1.75 billion invested since March alone.

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