British prime minister Theresa May has opened talks with her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau over a new trade and investment partnership between the UK and Canada.
During a visit to Ottawa, Mrs May is seeking to establish a new joint working group to prepare the groundwork for a new bilateral agreement between the two countries that will replicate the benefits of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Although Britain is set to leave the EU in the next couple of years, the country has nevertheless been a prominent advocate of CETA, a broad-ranging trade deal that will eliminate 98 per cent of Canadian import duties. The British government is hoping that the essence of the deal can be transitioned across to a new UK-Canada agreement after Brexit.
It is expected that the elimination of Canadian import duties will particularly benefit the British food and drink sector, with the wines and spirits industry seeing major gains, while conditions and opportunities for UK exporters will also be enhanced.
Currently, the UK is the second-biggest destination for Canadian investment abroad after the US, and the government is keen to maintain this strong relationship with Canada even after the country leaves the EU.
Mrs May said: "My visit to Canada today is not only about recognizing our past but also looking ahead to our bright future. We are both countries with ambitions to lead on the world stage and progressive values that underpin those ambitions - values including the importance of free trade, and respect for international law."
To date, the British government has established 13 working groups across 18 countries since the EU referendum to work on post-Brexit trade deals.