By Paul Vieira
OTTAWA -- The U.K. and Canada said the countries had agreed on an interim pact to cover trade once Britain is no longer part of a European Union-Canada trade treaty, beginning Jan. 1.
The two countries said on Saturday officials would work on a more comprehensive agreement, with talks to begin within a year of the interim pact's ratification by the respective legislatures. The interim trade pact extends tariff-free access for most goods, as available under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, which was formally signed in late 2016.
"The deal we have negotiated secures certainty for British and Canadian businesses, safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs," Elizabeth Truss, the U.K. secretary of state for international trade, said in a statement delivered by videoconference at a Canadian government news conference.
Mary Ng, Canada's trade minister, said a new U.K.-Canada deal would build upon the CETA and focus on other items such as the environment, women and the small-business sector.
The U.K. is Canada's most important commercial partner in Europe, with two-way trade in merchandise goods reaching 29.04 billion Canadian dollars, or the equivalent of $22.22 billion, in 2019.
After Jan. 1, the U.K. will no longer be part of the EU's single market and therefore no longer committed to the bloc's free movement of goods, services, capital and labor. The two sides are in negotiations about their future relationship, to cover among other topics involving trade and security.
The U.K. also started talks in May with the U.S. about a trade pact.
Write to Paul Vieira at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires