“We know how to negotiate trade deals,” Trudeau said, referring to a series of recent covenants sealed by Canada. “The UK has not had to negotiate any trade deals in the past decades.”
Any obstacle to a deal would likely come from the UK as its negotiators juggle talks with multiple countries, Trudeau warned. “There is a problem with not really having the bandwidth in the [UK] government to move forward, ”he said.
As the Brexit transition draws to a close, Boris Johnson’s government faces the difficult task of closing deals with key non-EU countries including Australia, New Zealand and the United States .
With the Dec. 31 deadline quickly approaching and a number of deals still pending, shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry recently condemned the Conservative government’s inability to present trade pacts as a “state of affairs”. in fact abysmal and chaotic ”.
Trudeau and the British Prime Minister met earlier this week, discussing how to strengthen trade and economic cooperation between the two allies.
Trade with Canada is worth nearly 17.4 billion pounds (30 billion Canadian dollars), according to government figures. About 700 UK-based companies have a presence in Canada and 1,100 UK companies are owned or controlled by Canadians.
The Trudeau government has signed a number of major trade pacts in recent years. In addition to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement with 10 other Pacific countries, Canada recently completed a murderous and unpredictable round of free trade negotiations with the United States.
Currently, economic relations between Canada and the United Kingdom are governed by the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta), a large free trade agreement recently negotiated between Canada and the European Union that has eliminated a number of pre-existing tariffs. Despite the challenges, Trudeau said he remained “very optimistic” that Ceta’s main provisions could form the basis of the new deal.
“I am hopeful it will happen, but it really depends on the UK government because we are here for it,” Trudeau said. “I just hope they can do it.”