In the March 13, 2021, Canada Gazette, Global Affairs Canada announced a consultation soliciting the views of Canadians on possible bilateral trade agreement negotiations with the United Kingdom (UK), as well as on the UK’s request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The announcement gave some background:

In 2019, the UK was Canada’s third-largest destination for merchandise exports worldwide. Two-way merchandise trade amounted to $29 billion, making it Canada’s fifth-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in services totalled $14.5 billion, making the UK Canada’s second-largest services trading partner. The UK is also Canada’s fourth most important source of foreign direct investment (FDI) [FDI stock valued at $62.3 billion] and second-largest destination for Canadian direct investment abroad ($107.0 billion). Approximately 600 Canadian companies own over 1 100 subsidiaries in the UK.

On December 9, 2020, Canada and the United Kingdom concluded a Trade Continuity Agreement (the Canada – UK TCA). The TCA substantively replicates the provisions of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement to support near-term continuity in the Canada-UK trade relationship now that the UK has left the European Union (Brexit). The agreement provides stability and predictability for businesses and workers in both countries. As the TCA is meant to be an interim measure, Canada and the UK have also committed to enter into subsequent negotiations within one year of its entry into force, and to work on a new, ambitious, inclusive and comprehensive free trade agreement — one that would include a focus on SMEs, women, the environment and digital trade, and, most importantly, would focus on serving the interests of Canadians.

On February 1, 2021, the UK submitted a formal Notification of Intent to accede to the CPTPP. The UK is the first economy to submit a formal accession application since the CPTPP’s entry into force. Should CPTPP Parties decide by consensus to proceed with the accession process, the UK will be expected to meet the Agreement’s high-standard rules and ambitious market access commitments. Combined, the eleven CPTPP members form a trading bloc representing 509 million consumers and 12.9% of global gross domestic product (GDP). The CPTPP is currently in force for Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. It will enter into force for the remaining signatories (Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru) 60 days after completion of their respective domestic ratification procedures.

More information on the Government’s consultations on possible future trade negotiations with the UK can be found on the Join the discussion: Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the United Kingdom and its possible accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership web page. Interested parties are invited to submit their views on both initiatives with the United Kingdom by April 27, 2021.

In parallel, the Government is seeking the views of Canadians on the potential impacts and opportunities that a Canada–UK bilateral trade agreement may have with respect to the environment — including greenhouse gas emissions — through an initial environmental assessment (EA). The Government will also examine gender and other diversity considerations through a gender-based analysis plus (GBA+). For more information on GBA+ of trade policy and trade agreements, please review the overview.

The Government will also conduct an economic impact assessment (EIA) of a possible Canada–UK bilateral trade agreement. Findings from the EIA, which includes assessing the expected impact of a possible bilateral trade agreement on the Canadian labour market, are used to inform both the EA and GBA+.

The Government of Canada is seeking the views of industry stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous peoples, and all interested Canadian citizens. Interested parties are invited to submit their views by April 27, 2021. See the notice for addresses and related information.