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‘Simply good for business locally’: Cambridge Chamber CEO weighs in on Canada / UK trade deal

The last-minute deal beats the end-of-year Brexit deadline, avoids tariffs on wide range of Canadian exports
Photo by Ben Eppel

A strong sigh of relief for Canadian exporters, importers and investors this weekend as Canada and Britain managed to strike a new trade deal – a mere month away from a December 31st Brexit deadline that would have seen a range of tariffs on Canadian exports.

The yet to be ratified deal with Canada’s fifth-largest trading partner acts as a foundation for more substantial agreements moving forward into 2021.

Speaking with 570 NEWS, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Greg Durocher said that any trade that Canada can conduct in these “difficult times” is essential, adding that the avoidance of those looming tariffs on Canadian exports is “simply good for business locally.”

“I think we’ve been known to be a country of traders (…) we’re a small speck in the greater global world and the more relationships we can have that have good trade possibilities is vital to the Canadian economy…” said Durocher. “What’s nice about this particular agreement is that it emulates the CETA agreement – which also includes services. I think it’s really important, certainly for the Canadian economy…”

Durocher said that, while the agreement does still have some measure to go before becoming official, it comes as no shock seeing the collegial relationship between the UK and Canada.

“Our values are in sync, and the desire to trade has always been a foundation of both countries…” said Durocher. “I think what is good is we’ve come to some conclusion (…) we have to formalize it through negotiation, documentation… but I think laying the foundation saying this will emulate the CETA agreement… and we’re moving forward effective January 2021 is such a strong signal for Canadian businesses.”

After news of the trade agreement was released yesterday, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued their own release, calling the conclusion of trade discussions “a bright spot amid a gloomy and trying year…”, adding that the announcement “provides a solid foundation (…) to expand trade and investment opportunities in discussions on an enhanced bilateral agreement”.

Durocher said the next step for Canada is to continue to fine-tune agreements with both the European Union and the UK, ensuring the best for Canadian businesses.

“The beauty of this is that the EU and UK have long wanted to have a robust, collegial trade agreement with Canada…” said Durocher. “Canada is looked-up as an innovator… as a country that can do the work of the world from a business perspective…” noted Durocher. “What we can do is sit down and make both agreements even better (…) to strengthen our relationships across that pond.”

The chamber CEO said the news is especially welcome as much of Canada’s trade capacity is tied up with the United States, who seem to be “going in the other direction, retracting from collegial trade agreements around the world.” He said this agreement is further proof that Canadians are interested in global trade, working with the world for mutual prosperity and vibrant economies.

In their release, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has urged both the British and Canadian governments to now publish the details of the updated trade agreement to ensure businesses can understand all the practical details. The organization has also called on both governments to work together for a “prompt passage of necessary implementing legislation” in order to provide further certainty for Canadian businesses.


Luke Schulz

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