Canada style trade deal for UK ruled out, says EUChristian Fernsby ▼ | February 20, 2020
The future relationship between Britain and the European Union (EU) is a "different ball game" to the one the EU has with Canada due to Britain's proximity to the bloc, a key EU aide said.
Business in Europe Stefaan De Rynck
Topics: Canada trade UK
Following the end of Britain's EU membership on Jan. 31, both sides have until the end of this year to strike a future trade deal. Britain will continue to follow EU rules during the transition period ending Dec. 31.
De Rynck's comments came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, called for a "Canada free trade agreement-type relationship" and urged the EU to drop its demand for post-Brexit regulatory alignment.
"We bring to the negotiations not some clever tactical positioning but the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country," Frost said Monday in a speech in Brussels.
In response, De Rynck said: "Some in the UK now seem to want to become Canadians. But Dover is much closer to Calais than Ottawa is...Proximity matters, distance matters. What also matters is the interconnectedness between our economies."
He said trade deals struck by the EU are expected to include "level playing field" commitments, adding that it is not a specific demand on Britain.
"Canada and Japan are also partners on upholding standards. Every trade deal concluded has level playing field commitments," De Rynck added.
Barnier said Tuesday that Frost's remarks in Brussels breached Johnson's previous commitments to the EU, saying such an offer for a Canada style trade deal "was not on the table".
Yesterday's conference on the LSE was called to look at the financial consequences of Britain's Brexit negotiations with the EU.
Formal trade talks between the two sides are scheduled to start in March. ■