Talking to Emily Maitlis on yesterday evening’s Newsnight, Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire revealed how the UK’s market may well exceed that of Canada’s. His answer came in response to Ms Maitlis’ question over whether Mr Brigden would support Boris Johnson’s want of a deal.
He said: “I’d love to have a super Canada free trade deal with mutual acceptance of standards.
“We’re going to be a much bigger market than Canada potentially.”
His assertion that the UK will boast a healthy market comes following fear that absolute economic pandemonium will wreck Britain in the years following Brexit.
The “super Canada free trade deal” that Mr Bridgen talked about has been tossed around in Parliamentary circles since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016.
Mr Brigden said he would love a Canada-style deal
He said he supported a deal
Free trade takes on many forms: from single markets to custom unions, to things called association agreements, all the way over to free trade agreements between nations.
The EU has 35 trade agreements for its member states, with over 20 more pending – effectively creating a number of exclusive opportunities for those signed up.
Yet, the EU also extends certain agreements beyond Europe itself, one of these being with Canada.
The EU has even said that its deal with Canada is the “most ambitious trade agreement that the EU has ever concluded”.
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Mr Brigend is MP for North West Leicestershire
The agreement is called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
It only came into force in September 2017, after being signed a year earlier – just months after the Brexit vote.
The lax trade agreement – which sees 98 percent of the tariffs between the EU and its member states wiped clean – has been used by Brexiteers as a template of what the UK’s relationship with the EU could look like.
The deal saves Canadian importers a huge €590m (£529m) in taxes on the goods they receive from the EU.
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Canada and the EU completed the deal in 2016
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While European importers enjoy reduced tariffs on some 9,000 Canadian products.
As well as this, the two parties, as agreed in the deal, open up public contracts to each other.
This means that companies, for example, pitching to build French railways or British builders bidding to construct an Ontario school.
Further, the deal protects produce native to certain countries, ensuring that both cultural and economic barriers are maintained.
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For example, prosciutto di Parma ham from Italy and Camembert cheese from France aren’t at risk of having cheaper Canadian imports of the same product.
Both Remainers and Brexiteers, however, have each claimed a Canada-style agreement would not benefit the UK.
In her latter-day negotiations, Theresa May asserted that a no-deal Brexit would be better for the UK than any Canada-style free trade agreement allowed by the EU.
She argued that it would inevitably lead to the disintegration of the UK, and put the power in the hands of the EU.
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Others, such as the Remainer MP Chuku Umunna, who played a game of political hopscotch earlier this year, jumping between three parties in as many months, claimed a Canada-style agreement would never be the same for the UK.
In an article for the Independent last year, he wrote: “A Canada-style agreement… would be nowhere near as good as the benefits the UK currently enjoys as part of the EU single market and customs union.
“It does not provide for frictionless trade between the UK and EU so we will face new red tape, costs and delays at our ports on all trade with our biggest partner.”
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