UK set to upgrade free trade deals with Canada and Mexico

The UK is set to sign an upgraded free trade deal with Canada and Mexico which will see “even greater opportunities” for UK businesses in industries such as digital, data and services, it has been revealed.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) confirmed that negotiations will begin later this year with input from the public, businesses and other stakeholders.

The news comes after the UK signed limited free trade deals with both jurisdictions in 2020, which secured tariff-free exports on 98 per cent and 88 per cent of goods to Canada and Mexico, respectively.

According to the Government, an upgraded free trade deal would support existing trade with Canada and Mexico, which was worth some £22.8 billion and £5.1 billion, respectively, in 2019.

But a new and improved free trade deal with Mexico could also support jobs and opportunities in innovative sectors, such as digital, data and services, while an improved UK-Canada trade agreement will support British jobs in areas such as car manufacturing and food and drink.

It is also believed that a new free trade deal could “support the UK’s ambition to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership” (CPTPP). Canada, the ninth largest economy in the world, and Mexico, projected to be the seventh largest by 2050, are both members of the trade collective which recorded a GDP of almost £9 trillion in 2019.

Commenting on the report, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “This next generation of deals will be trail-blazing, securing more access for British goods and services, which will support jobs and prosperity across the UK in industries that will shape the future of the global economy. They will also serve as a key building block to CPTPP, as the UK pivots towards the Asia-Pacific.

“We want these deals to be pioneering in digital and services trade, and bolder in our commitments to the environment.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the Confederation of British Industry, added: “As the UK seeks to strengthen its trade and investment links with Mexico and Canada, input from business will be crucial to ensure these deals serve as a vehicle for economic growth. Creating high-value jobs in key growth industries from fintech to e-commerce will help all our countries build forward.”

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