The United Kingdom has officially left the European Union in January 2020. As a result, the United Kingdom seeks new trading partners and Her Majesty`s Government considers the Commonwealth is the best solution to cope with Brexit. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thinks that Commonwealth`s higher growth rates compared to the E.U. could offer much greater economic opportunities to the British nation. Therefore, Boris Johnson hopes that trading with Commonwealth realms is the best way for Britain to unleash its potential. Besides, some policymakers consider that U.K.`s future lie in deepening trade and immigration with other Commonwealth realms. As a result, Canada could be an important trade partner in a post Brexit U.K. Canada hopes to work with the U.K. to sign a trade agreement. Canada is not very far from Britain, the nation has a flourishing economy and countless economic opportunities for British businesses. Moreover, the United Kingdom could learn lessons from Canada to keep its country together and how to get the most of international trade; therefore, Canada might become a model for Britain and Northern Ireland.
To begin with, Canada slowly became a self-sovereign nation in the 20th Century and Canada`s independence has allowed the nation to sign treaties with the rest of the World. The success of the Dominion of Canada became a national pride for Canadians. Canada`s culture was influenced by Britain and France that made Canada a bilingual and multicultural nation opened to the World. Tom McTagues describes Canada`s early foreign policy in 2020 in the Atlantic: ¨Canada has been something of an adolescent, neither fully independent of its colonial power nor entirely dependent on it either. Its foreign policy was largely directed from London until well into the 20th century.¨ Like a human being, Canada has evolved throughout several stages before being able to choose its own foreign policy as a self-governing nation. Nowadays, Canada is a united, a prosperous nation, with a unique Canadian culture. On the other hand, Britain and Northern Ireland has to learn from Canada, the nation will slowly learn to be independent from the European Union and Canada could be a source of inspiration for the United Kingdom. Canada inherited from Britain and Northern Ireland a democratic system that is characterized by its constitutional flexibility; this parliamentary system provides a stable national government that shares some powers with subnational governments; as a result, these provinces are in charge of local matters. This federated system of government serves very well Canadians and modern Canada is mature enough to inspire its former mother country about the benefits of federalism. The U.K. could be ready for federalism according to some people. For instance, Isobel Lindsay, a former sociology lecturer, writes in April 2018 in the Herald Scotland that: ¨given that the U.K. is a multi-national state, it would seem federalism provides a logical solution to an increasingly technical problem, solving the frictions thrown up by the asymmetrical nature of the existing devolution settlement.¨ As a result, the United Kingdom should adopt a similar federated state in order to keep Scotland and Northern Ireland in the British Union. In short, Canadian federalism has been created by the former mother country, but Britain has never felt the need to experience federalism, but fears of national unity triggered by Brexit could make London think about the benefits of federalism.
Moreover, Canada is concerned about Brexit because it wants to keep working on good terms with both the U.K. and the E.U. This is not an easy for Canadian businesses to know the full impact of a settled Brexit on the Canadian economy. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reveals in December 2019 that some Canadian officials think that Canada should not rush itself into trade negotiations with the U.K.; perhaps, a desperate U.K. could offer the ¨entire World low or no tariffs access to its market without requiring any preferential treatment in return.¨ There is some sense of optimism in Canada to get a full 2021 tariff free access to the U.K. in case of a no deal Brexit. Mark Agnew, director for International Policy for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce loves this idea of a tariff free access to the British market: ¨That changes the negotiating dynamics for Canada. If we’re getting this tariff-free access for a year, do we really want to negotiate for it?¨ In return, Canada would just apply its regular tariffs to the U.K. under WTO terms. Besides, Canada would be advantaged by a no deal Brexit because the United Kingdom would try everything it can to get trade deals with other nations as soon as it can.
Nevertheless, this case scenario is very unlikely and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not think in a no deal Brexit. Still, Britain does not have many experienced trade negotiators because Brussels used to be in charge of trade with other nations on behalf of the U.K. This means a trade deal between Canada and the United Kingdom could take several years due to a shortage of trade experts on the British side. In the event of no U.K.-E.U. trade deal in the short term, Canada expects to get low tariffs from Britain and Northern Ireland as promised by Her Majesty`s Government last Spring.
On the other hand, any trade deal with Britain could imply that the very powerful British banking industry gets more access to Canadian markets. British farmers will want more access to the Canadian market at the expense of Canada`s farming protectionism. Ryan Nearing, a spokesman for the International Trade Minister of Canada, says that: ¨Any future trade agreement between Canada and the U.K. would be influenced by the U.K.-EU trade relationship, as well as any unilateral U.K. approaches.¨ Canada currently enjoys a comprehensive trade deal with every E.U. nation. Therefore, the economic relationships between Canada and the U.K. ought to be determined by the British European trade talks. In sum, Canada needs to wait that London and Brussels agrees on their future social and economic relationship before Ottawa and London sign a common trade agreement. Besides, the British High Commissioner to Canada, Susan Le Jeune D’Allegeershecque, told Canada that even though London is free to negotiate with whatever nation it chooses, London is not ready yet to start trade talks with Canada. She said that London needs to get a deal with Brussels first before entering trade talks with other nations.
Then again, Canada worries that if London fails to get a comprehensive trade agreement with Brussels, some Canadian businesses based in London would not be able to continue to use Britain as an entry point into Europe. As a result, Canada has been working with the U.K. on a transition plan to avoid negative Brexit outcomes on Canadian businesses in the United Kingdom. Besides, Canadian businesses could have to rethink their trade strategies in the event of a no deal Brexit. U.K. is Canada`s third largest trading partner receiving about $15 billion worth of Canadian goods every year. The new Canadian treaty with the European Union soon will no longer apply to the U.K. This could be very challenging for Canada and the United Kingdom to get a treaty regulating British-Canadian trade as good as the Canada European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement currently into force.
Yet, the United Kingdom could be very interested in getting a trade deal with the Commonwealth of Australia very quickly in 2021. Trading between Britain and Australia accounts for CDN $23.8 billion. Besides, Britain is the second largest source of total foreign investment in Australia. Therefore, Australia is a very important trade partner for the U.K. Besides, the European Union has trade deals with 88 countries and the United Kingdom does not have any trade deal yet. Therefore, London has to work very hard to get several trade deals signed as soon as possible in order to avoid an economic recession after December 31st, 2020 which is the date that the E.U. customs union and common market no longer apply to Britain.
As well, Britain should get inspired by Canada that has a flourishing economy and a culture of trade and business. For instance, Tom McTague writes in January 2020 in The Atlantic that Canada is ¨a medium-size economy flourishing next to a trading superpower; an open, multicultural democracy bound by trade agreements but not supranational institutions and law; and a country that has navigated the position in which it finds itself in the world.¨ Therefore, Canada`s sovereignty and prosperity could be a great source of inspiration for the British nation. Britain must keep its multicultural characteristic and the U.K. has to remain open to the World as Canada does. Therefore, the former dominion can now advise its former mother country, the United Kingdom, about the great challenges created by Brexit in terms of British national unity, economic prosperity, and international trade. Therefore, London could ask Canada some advice in order to offset the negative outcomes of Brexit.
Finally, the United Kingdom wants to get inspired by the Canada European Union trade deal that provides free trade on most goods and services between the supranational organization and the Canadian nation. Moreover, the U.K. and Canada should quickly work together to sign trade a treaty covering a majority of goods and services. In sum, Canada has historic ties and common values with the U.K. and France. This is not an ideal situation that the U.K. leaves the E.U. while France remains in the E.U.; therefore, Canada needs to negotiate a deal with London similar to the C.E.T.A. For that reason, London should not wait until 2021 before signing a trade agreement with Canada. Thus, London could benefits from a U.K. Canada trade deal as soon as possible and this could offset the negative effects of Brexit on the British economy. Moreover, Canada could be a source of inspiration for the U.K. about the benefits of federalism. Britain and Northern Ireland could become a federation similar to Canada to better serve the needs of Britain`s devolved regions such as: Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. These regions do not support Brexit, but they could be pleased to have a federated United Kingdom. Besides, many English people would like to have an English Parliament and that England becomes a devolved region.
March 8, 2020