UK–Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations suspended

Friday, 26 January 2024

On 25 January 2024, the UK trade negotiators suspended talks with their Canadian counterparts on an FTA intended to update the rollover agreement currently in place.

Since the EU Exit, the UK has been able to access the Canadian market on favourable terms, in line with previous access under the EU–Canada FTA.

Significant agricultural exports to Canada include cheese £18.7m in 2022, beef £9.2m and lamb £4.9m.

Since 1 January 2024, the UK no longer had access to the EU Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) for cheese. Instead, UK exports only have access to the non-EU TRQ, which is effectively filled by Swiss and Norwegian produce. Outside this TRQ, cheese is subject to the MFN tariff exceeding 200%.

It is understood that the sticking point was Canadian access to the UK beef market. The UK negotiators view accepting hormone-treated beef as a ‘red line’ in negotiations. This effectively rules out Canadian beef access to the UK market.

The UK is expected to accede to the CPTPP in the second half of 2024. Under the UK–CPTPP FTA agreement, the UK can then trade on preferential terms with members of the CPTPP, which includes Canada, but only if those individual members agree to do so. This means that unless Canada agrees, the UK will not automatically regain access to the Canadian cheese market.

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