British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 18 (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Canada, U.K. using CETA as new trade model

Long-heralded Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA, comes into effect Thursday

Those feeling anxious about the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the rest of the world could use a little predictability, and both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May say Canada can help.

The two countries are working towards a new bilateral free trade deal to take effect after the U.K. achieves its so-called Brexit from the European Union, the two world leaders revealed this week.

What’s more, they said, the template for that deal would be the long-heralded Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA, between Canada and the EU that comes largely into effect Thursday.

“There is no question that CETA, which eliminates well over 90 per cent of all barriers to trade between Canada and the European Union … will make an excellent basis for ensuring a smooth transition in a post-Brexit world,” Trudeau told a joint news conference.

“After that, there will obviously be opportunities for us to look at particular details that could be improved upon for the specific needs and opportunities in the bilateral relationship between the U.K. and Canada.

“But as a strong basis for a smooth transition, CETA is perfectly designed, and will be able to ensure — for investors, for companies and for workers and consumers — a smooth transition.”

READ MORE: Kelowna-Lake Country MP urging companies to find out more about CETA

READ MORE: Will free trade with the EU benefit everyone in Canada?

The British prime minister agreed that using the Canada-EU agreement as the basis for a forthcoming new bilateral deal makes sense for everyone.

“We want to ensure that for businesses and individuals, that there is as smooth a changeover, when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, as possible; we want to see as little disruption to economies and to people’s lives,” said May.

“That’s why we believe it makes sense to take the trade agreement — which the U.K. is part of, it’s part of the European Union — with Canada, and say that that is the basis at that point at which we leave for a bilateral relationship with the U.K. and Canada.”

May said she has already discussed the approach with the European Union.

The Canada-EU trade deal took seven years to come together — including some tense eleventh-hour negotiations with Wallonia, a tiny region of Belgium that ended up holding a deal-killing veto over the pact — but Trudeau suggested things would move more quickly this time.

“Within the European Union, the U.K. is the largest trading partner that Canada has, so the U.K. was deeply involved throughout those negotiations towards CETA, obviously, over the past seven years,” Trudeau said.

“It will form the basis for the way we move forward in a post-Brexit Europe.”

May also spoke of working “swiftly.”

The U.K. is Canada’s fifth-largest merchandise trade partner, amounting to more than $25.3 billion in both directions last year.

The trade deal, however, was not the only headline-making development out of May’s first official visit with Trudeau, who took the opportunity to ramp up his government’s fight with U.S. aerospace giant Boeing.

The Liberal government, Trudeau said, won’t do business with a company he accuses of attacking the domestic aerospace industry and trying to put people out of work.

Boeing launched a trade dispute with Montreal-based rival Bombardier earlier this year.

May also has a stake in the dispute, as Bombardier has a factory in Northern Ireland.

The two leaders met Monday ahead of Trudeau’s trip to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly, where May will also be speaking this week, including on ways to curb the use of the Internet by terrorists.

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Three days in the ER, not uncommon in Abbotsford: report

One in 10 admitted patients spends more than 69 hours in emergency

If it snows, move your car

Streets in Mission that have cars parked on them, won’t get plowed this winter

Man accused of shooting at border agents loses final bid to appeal extradition order

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford following cross-border manhunt in 2013

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

B.C. government to launch coastal ferry review in January

The Province will begin a comprehensive review of the coastal ferry service in British Columbia in 2018

5 to start your day

A rhyming MP getting into the Christmas spirit on the hill, Langley boy chased by two men and more

Federal Crown drops appeal after charges against pot activist dismissed

Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Kensington Palace announced the date to the public Friday

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

B.C. Interior First Nation create a community radio station

The Tsilhqot’in National Government is developing a radio station to promote language revitalization and create unity

Most Read