Canada’s high stakes trade deal with the European Union has been thrown into doubt by the UK’s surprise referendum result.
British lawmakers are said to have been the driving force behind getting the agreement on the table, only for its people to vote to leave the EU on Friday.
Now the whole balance of the deal – tentatively planned to be signed in October – has been upset by uncertainty over the UK’s exit negotiations.
Some analysts expect the deal, named the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, to go through in its current form, with Britain’s future involvement becoming part of talks on its EU departure.
But others predict at the very least for the deal to be delayed, or even renegotiated altogether, following the drama surrounding the Brexit referendum result.
A vast majority of Canada’s EU trade was with the UK, which is one of the reasons the deal is so important. It stands to open Canada up to a whole new market, in eastern Europe in particular.
But the whole CETA deal was laced with painstaking give and take calculations including British consumers and businesses, which could now have to start all over again.
In purely simple terms, if beef export quotas were set with Britain in mind, they must surely now need renegotiating following the vote. And once you adjust one clause, the whole equilibrium is upset.
Add in Scotland’s plan to become independent from the UK and stay in the EU, and the whole CETA deal becomes even more muddy.
It may be that officials decide it is more beneficial to ratify the existing agreement and worry about the UK’s situation further down the line.
Negotiations on the trade deal were already sensitive, as parallel talks are taking place on visa reciprocity between Canada and the EU.
Romanians and Bulgarians both currently need visas to visit Canada, but under new EU rules any country granted visa-free travel to the Schengen area must do the same in the opposite direction.
The deadline was recently extended to July 12 after the two sides could not reach an agreement.
Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos has already said he would vote against the CETA trade deal if Canada fails to drop the visa requirement.
If no deal is reached by July 12, the result could be Canadians requiring a visa to visit Schengen area nations. The area does not include the UK or Ireland.
Meanwhile, the UK’s vote to leave the EU sparked a surge in Google searches for ‘how to move to Canada’ on Friday.
Following on from a similar Donald Trump-related increase in US Google searches, the British began to frantically look for alternative places to live as the pound plummeted and financial markets fell on Friday.
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