Theresa May: We can have a 'seamless trade transition' with Canada after Brexit
Theresa May has said she wants a “seamless transition” to a trade relationship with Canada after Brexit.
The Prime Minister wants to use a new deal between Ottawa and the EU as the framework of her own Canadian free trade arrangement.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement - which took seven years of negotiations to hammer out - comes into force on Thursday.
During a visit to Canada for a head-to-head with her counterpart Justin Trudeau, Mrs May said the countries were “natural partners in promoting the benefits of free trade”.
She added: "We have agreed today that Ceta should be swiftly transitioned to form a new bilateral arrangement between UK and Canada after Brexit…
"We want to ensure that when we leave the European Union, for businesses and people, that change is as smooth and orderly as possible.
"And working on Ceta as becoming the first of the bilateral trade relationships between the UK and Canada that means that seamless transition can take place.
She added that a new working group would prepare the groundwork for a trade deal - since the nations are unable to sign anything formal while Britain remains a member of the EU.
The UK’s trade relationship with Canada is thought to be worth £15.2bn a year.
In its bid to strike the Ceta deal, Canada agreed to drop 98% of its import duties.
Mrs May and Mr Trudeau also discussed a dispute between aircraft manufacturers Bombardier and Boeing.
The companies are embroiled in a legal stand-off that could see jobs lost in Northern Ireland where Canadian firm Bombardier employs thousands of people.