Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed he will sign a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK that will be better than the one his nation has signed with the EU, pledging negotiations will not take long.
In an interview with BBC News, the Canadian Prime Minister said he and Prime Minister Theresa May will work together to make sure the already strong trading relationship between the two nations will continue post-Brexit.
Mr Trudeau pledged negotiations with the UK on the future bilateral agreement will take less than the talks his nations had with the EU to reach the trade deal that took eight years to be agreed on.
He said: “We’re very happy with our trade with Britain, it’s our largest trading partner in the European Union and we’ll look to make sure there’s continuity.
“I actually sat down with Prime Minister May I think six months ago, last year, and we made sure that everybody knew and all our officials were working towards making sure that’s as smooth as it possibly can be and we’re confident it is.”
Asked whether a new trade deal with the UK will be “faster and better” than the one signed by Canada with the European Union which took eight years to be negotiated, he replied: “We will have that deal that was worked through indeed for eight years so we have that as a groundwork.
“Then the day after Brexit and in the following months we’ll work on making sure we’re taking full advantage of the particular bilateral relationship between the UK and Canada and look for ways to enhance and improve it in a process that most likely will not take all that long.”
Earlier in April, the Canadian PM said he is gearing up for a seamless transition of trade between the UK and Canada and a “more impactful” agreement than his nation holds with the Brussels bloc.
International Development Secretary Liam Fox has backed the call, saying there is “huge appetite” for increasing trade with its Commonwealth ally.
Mr Trudeau said: “Trade deals are always challenging but it should be fairly easy for all of us to get to an improved approach on trade between Canada and the UK.”
The Canadian leader signalled an ambitious approach to trade, saying a carbon copy of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) with the bloc was appropriate in the short-term but he wanted to “go further”.
He said: “There will be things in Ceta that are no longer as necessary between Canada and the UK and there’d be other areas where we would be interested in going further.
“The rolled-over or specific Ceta arrangement between Canada and the UK is just the floor or the first step.
“After that, we very much look forward to negotiating an even better or larger or more impactful deal to encourage the deepening of trade ties between Canada and the UK.”
The country’s finance minister Siv Jensen said her government had “no objections” to a flexible transition period.
In a London speech, she said other countries had a common interest in the UK continuing to endorse “the idea of common rules and a level playing field.”