Barry Gardiner, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, said in response to continued uncertainty over the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement:
“The latest delay of CETA and the cancellation of the EU – Canada Summit should make this government pause and ponder the likelihood of concluding a new trade relationship with the EU within a 2 year time frame.
“The Canadian Agreement has been hailed by ministers as a model of what they would like. But it has taken 7 years to negotiate already and is much less complex than any deal with the UK inevitably must be.
“The government seems able to delude themselves about the difficulties that lie ahead. But they have no right to delude the British people. Trade Agreements are arduous and detailed with each side negotiating in the best interests of their own country. No government can rely on good will. The government must be clear about its aims and straight with the British public.”
Notes to editors
1. Several Government ministers have cited the EU-Canada deal as their preferred model for a future UK-EU trade deal. David Davis has called CETA the “perfect starting point for our discussions with the commission” while Boris Johnson cited Canada and its trade deal as an example for the UK to follow.
2. Government ministers have made contradictory claims about the speed with which the UK will be able to conclude new free trade deals. Andrea Leadsom said last week she believed it will be “perfectly possible” to secure a free trade agreement with the European Union in less than 2 years, while in Brussels Theresa May acknowledged a new deal “will take time”. The CETA deal has taken 7 years of negotiation to date.