Interim agreement a steppingstone to a meaningful Canada-U.K. trade relationship

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Source: Canadian Cattlemen’s Association

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) recognizes the Government of Canada’s efforts to maintain uninterrupted market access into the United Kingdom (U.K.) by pursuing an interim agreement to transition between the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and a future Canada-U.K. free trade agreement (FTA).

CCA’s highest priority is on achieving a long-term FTA with the U.K. that resolves trade barriers that continue to exist. CCA is pleased to see a commitment by both Governments to return to negotiating a full FTA within a year and encourages both Governments to do so as soon as possible.

“CCA urges the Government of Canada to ensure mechanisms are in place to avoid disruptions of exports to the U.K. and to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible to work towards an ambitious FTA with the U.K, that will lead to greater economic prosperity for both our countries and farmers and ranchers,” said Bob Lowe, CCA President.

A glaring inequity that remains to be resolved is that Canadian beef producers face far more hurdles to export to the U.K. than U.K. producers experience exporting to Canada. In the transitional agreement, the U.K. beef industry retains unlimited duty-free access into the Canadian market, while Canadian beef exports will be restricted to 3,279 tonnes in 2021 and 3,869 tonnes in 2022.

Despite the growth of Canada’s beef exports to the EU and the U.K. in recent years, the full potential of Canada’s negotiated access under CETA has not been realized due to technical trade obstacles. CCA continues to actively engage the Government of Canada to resolve the trade limiting factors both in CETA as well as within the interim arrangement with the U.K.

Canada exported 1,584 tonnes valued at $18.8 million to the U.K. in 2019 and 1,047 tonnes valued at $12.9 million from January to September 2020. However, Canada imported 2,962 tonnes valued at $15.8 million from the U.K. in 2019 and 4,126 tonnes valued at $24 million from January to September 2020.

Using beef trade data from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, the overall Canada-EU beef trade deficit (including the U.K.) was $0.5 million in 2018, $17.3 million in 2019 and an astounding $74.5 million for the first nine months of 2020.

“We are concerned with how beef trade with the EU has progressed and as such will be closely watching the trade relationship with the U.K. develop,” stated Lowe. “It is imperative that the beef industries in Canada and the U.K. can equally benefit from and grow this relationship and that will be our focus for the future trade agreements.”

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