Skip to main content
//empty //empty

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland at a news conference in Toronto, on Aug. 6, 2019.

MOE DOIRON/Reuters

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said his top priority is to achieve a “seamless” transition after Brexit, and negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Canada is a part of that.

He affirmed Britain will leave the European Union by Oct. 31, with or without an exit deal.

“We need to ensure that everything possible is in place to provide continuity of trade after Brexit for the benefit of companies and consumers,” Mr. Raab told reporters in Toronto.

Story continues below advertisement

He’ll work with Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland on a bilateral trade deal in the weeks ahead, he added.

However, Mr. Raab declined to elaborate on how a bilateral Canada-Britain deal would be different from the current Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which establishes rules for trade between Canada and the whole EU.

Ms. Freeland’s office said Canada recognizes Britain can’t engage in free-trade talks while it’s still part of the EU. But Ottawa would allow Britain to remain part of CETA, or use rules based on CETA, during its transition period.

Opinion: Don’t expect closer ties between Britain and Canada any time soon

Opinion: After Brexit, Canada and the UK will become even closer friends

Britain is Canada’s largest European trading partner and its fifth largest globally. Two-way merchandise trade between the two countries reached $25.51-billion in 2018.

Mr. Raab and Ms. Freeland talked about the countries’ shared concern on issues such as the plight of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians detained in China, and the crisis in Venezuela.

Ms. Freeland met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday, where she raised the case of the two Canadians. They’re cut off from family and lawyers and have been charged with espionage.

“I really want to assure them and their families that they truly are never far from our thoughts,” Ms. Freeland said.

Story continues below advertisement

The face-to-face meeting was a step forward, she added, although Canada’s relationship with China remains “challenging.”

Ms. Freeland also discussed the tense situation in Venezuela. U.S. President Donald Trump froze all Venezuelan government assets in his country on Monday, a sweeping measure to increase pressure on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro over human-right abuses.

Ms. Freeland said she’s watching the U.S. move closely and added Canada has its own “very strong” set of sanctions against Mr. Maduro’s regime.

While Mr. Raab said he understands the importance of a bilateral trade agreement with Canada, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a similar message to at least one other British trading partner. Last week, he spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and stressed the importance of ensuring a smooth transition for businesses through Brexit, according to a Downing Street statement.

“Brexit is not just about risk management,” Mr. Raab said. “It’s also about grasping the enormous opportunities of our newfound freedoms.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Story continues below advertisement

Editor’s note: Aug. 7, 2019: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Chrystia Freeland’s office declined to comment on the nature of a Canada-Britain trade deal.
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies