Notice of Intent to enter into negotiations toward a Canada-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement
Dear Members of Parliament:
In accordance with the enhanced transparency requirements set out in the amended Policy on Tabling of Treaties in Parliament, I am pleased to notify the House of Commons of the government’s intent to initiate negotiations toward a new, comprehensive Canada-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The Government of Canada intends to commence negotiations by holding a first round of negotiations with the United Kingdom no earlier than 90 days from the date of this notice.
Strengthening trade and investment ties with important markets is key to ensuring inclusive economic recovery and sustainable prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers and families. The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians succeed globally by expanding trade and investment opportunities. By pursuing bilateral free trade negotiations with the United Kingdom, the Government of Canada will expand and strengthen trade ties with Canada’s third largest trading partner for combined goods and services.
Canada and the United Kingdom share a broad and extensive relationship, built on shared history and values and strong economic ties. Following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom concluded an interim Trade Continuity Agreement that provides stability and continuity for Canadian businesses by carrying forward the benefits of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreeement. The Government of Canada now has the opportunity to negotiate an ambitious, modern and comprehensive FTA that best reflects Canada’s inclusive approach to trade and our bilateral trade relationship with the United Kingdom.
Although the COVID‑19 pandemic has created challenges for international trade, Canada’s trade with the United Kingdom has remained strong. In 2020, Canadian merchandise exports to the United Kingdom were valued at $19.9 billion. Top Canadian exports included precious stones and metals, mineral fuels and oils, machinery, mineral ores, and aircraft and parts. Meanwhile, Canada imported $7.8 billion in goods from the United Kingdom in 2020. Top imports included machinery, precious stones and metals, motor vehicles and parts, pharmaceutical products, and aircraft and parts. The United Kingdom is Canada’s second largest services trading partner, after the United States. In 2020, bilateral trade in services between Canada and the United Kingdom amounted to nearly $12.9 billion ($5.8 billion exports and $7.0 billion imports). The United Kingdom is also a key source of foreign direct investment (FDI) and of science and technology partnerships. In 2020, FDI stock from the United Kingdom was valued at $69.6 billion and Canadian direct investment in the United Kingdom was valued at $116.8 billion.
A Canada-United Kingdom FTA would provide Canadians with continued preferential access to the United Kingdom market, primarily benefiting Canadian exporters of goods and services. In any eventual negotiations, the government is committed to advancing the interests of all Canadians, including by seeking to create opportunities for the middle class, small and medium‑sized enterprises, women and Indigenous peoples.
The Government of Canada held public consultations from March 12 to April 27, 2021, to solicit the views of Canadians on a possible Canada-United Kingdom FTA and related economic, social and environmental impacts. Through this process, Canadians demonstrated strong support for an FTA with the United Kingdom. For a summary of the feedback received, visit the Report: Public Consultations on priorities for trade negotiations with the United Kingdom.
In accordance with the Policy on Tabling of Treaties in Parliament, Canada’s negotiating objectives for a Canada-United Kingdom FTA will be tabled in the House of Commons no later than 30 days before Canada holds its first round of negotiations with the United Kingdom. Should negotiations be successfully concluded, the government will also table an economic impact assessment of the agreement at such a time as the implementing legislation for a Canada-United Kingdom FTA is tabled.
I look forward to working closely and transparently with Parliament throughout negotiations for a Canada-United Kingdom FTA.
The Honourable Mary Ng, P.C., M.P.
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