A British envoy to Canada says despite his country’s decision to leave the EU, they will still try hard to make sure the Canada-EU free-trade deal goes through as planned.
Howard Drake, the High Commissioner made it clear that until Britain formally negotiates how to leave the EU and sign an agreement, they are still bound by EU laws and treaties.
Meanwhile Drake stated his support for the Canada-EU trade plan that would ensure the trade agreement be effective for a temporal basis next year.
“There is quite an ambitious timetable for that to happen, and we will be in there making it happen,” Drake said.
“That’s the timetable that European members — of which we are one — have been discussing with Canada.”
Drake’s statements echoes that of Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Trade Mininster. She has said that she has received enough assurances from other EU countries that the deal will go through as planned after being ratified by the European Parliament.
What the provisional application means is that more than 90% of the deal will come take effect regardless of it being ratified by 28 member EU parliaments because most of the deal will fall under EU jurisdiction.
Things were a little bit unclear when Liam Fox, Britain’s new trade minister claimed “very fruitful” bilateral trade negotiations has taken place with Canada
Drake was reluctant to comment on the matter but reiterated that his country has not started any talks with Canada regarding free-trade. “I can’t comment on what’s in the press. All I can tell you is what the government’s position is.”
Drake said despite fruitful negotiations being held between Fox and Freeland, Britain is still technically part of EU so it cannot sign any trade deals independently.
“We have had very, very good conversations with a number of our close friends around the world, some of whom we have very important trading relationships with. Canada is one of those,” Drake said.
“That’s as far as it goes.”
Britain is and will always be a trading country he said.
First on the agenda for Britain will be to negotiate the details and the mechanisms of its future trade deals with EU he added.
Britain doesn’t have an independent trade negotiator because it gave up that right when it joined the EU, so they will have to form a new team.
Drake added that Britain is yet to invoke Article 50 of the EU treaty which will effectively start the two year long process of leaving the EU
Some argue it might take longer than that because Britain has become deeply rooted in the EU so to undo that will take a longer time
Drake was adamant that Britain will not go back on its words and perform a U-turn of not leaving the EU.
New Prime Minister Theresa May says Britain will not invoke article 50 just yet until they lay down clear strategies.
“The detail of that is obviously a matter of negotiation between us and the EU,” Drake said. “The prime minister has said that the UK approach and objectives for that discussion need to be worked out.”