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Free Trade Agreement: Canada

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 19 November 2020

What recent progress she has made on concluding a free trade agreement with Canada; and if she will make a statement. (908986)

We are determined to reach a deal with Canada before the end of the year. It is a fellow G7 member and one of the top 10 economies in the world. It will help our trade, from cars to beef, fish and whisky, in a trading relationship already worth £20 billion.

I was glad to see the good news on Bloomberg that there is great hope that we will conclude that deal. Does the Secretary of State share my hope that Canada, like Japan, will go further with us in agreeing free trade than it has with the European Union?

What we are negotiating at the moment is the vital continuity agreement, but I do hope that, in the future, as Canada is a member of the trans-Pacific partnership that has advanced chapters in areas such as data and digital, we will be able to go much further and build a much deeper relationship.

With just days to go, and with not just this continuity agreement still to be completed, British exporters such as our car manufacturers simply do not know whether they will face tariffs potentially as high as 20% in markets as diverse as Mexico and Vietnam and beyond. Is it not the truth that the Secretary of State has focused too much of her time chasing new deals with the Trump Administration and others and taken her eye off protecting the free trade that we already have?

The Government have completed trade deals with 52 different countries covering £146 billion-worth of trade. That is a massive achievement. Unlike the Labour party, we are not prepared to agree to any deal put on the table; we will work hard to get a deal that is in Britain’s interests. There are deals ready to go with the countries the hon. Gentleman has mentioned, but I am not prepared to do a bad deal to push things forward. We are pushing all those deals forward, and we are making good progress.