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U.K. walks away from trade talks with Canada


Politics·New

British negotiators walked away from trade talks with Canada Thursday — a dramatic development that taps the brakes on a bilateral trade deal between the two Commonwealth nations that has been years in the making.

Sticking point is how much access U.K. producers should have to the Canadian cheese market

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, meets with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street, after King Charles lll had his official royal Coronation in London on Saturday, May 6, 2023.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, meets with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street on Saturday, May 6, 2023. Trade talks between Canada and the U.K. broke down on Thursday. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

British negotiators walked away from trade talks with Canada Thursday — a dramatic development that taps the brakes on a bilateral trade deal between the two Commonwealth nations that has been years in the making.

A major sticking point is how much access U.K. producers should have to the Canadian cheese market.

After Brexit, an interim agreement kept tariff-free British cheese on Canadian shelves for three years. That more permissive regime expired at the end of last year.

Negotiators had been working on a longer-term bilateral trade deal to replace the liberalized trade the U.K. enjoyed under the terms of Canada’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union.

In the aftermath of the renegotiation of the former North American Free Trade Agreement, which saw changes to supply-managed sectors, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised dairy farmers that no more slices of Canada’s domestic market would be served up to exporters in future negotiations.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada has said consistently that expanded access to the Canadian dairy sector should remain off the table in trade talks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J.P. Tasker is a journalist in CBC’s parliamentary bureau who reports for digital, radio and television. He is also a regular panellist on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics. He covers the Conservative Party, Canada-U.S. relations, Crown-Indigenous affairs, climate change, health policy and the Senate. You can send story ideas and tips to J.P. at john.tasker@cbc.ca.



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