What is a ‘Canada-style’ trade deal?

Harvesting oats Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Harvesting Canadian oats, which used to attract a 54% tariff in Europe

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said when it comes to trade with the EU after Brexit: “We want a comprehensive free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s”.

The EU’s agreement with Canada is called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or Ceta for short.

The EU began negotiating with Canada in 2009, and Ceta provisionally came into force in 2017, although it has not yet been signed off by all the EU member states.

What does Ceta do?

We’ve heard a lot about wanting a “zero-tariff, zero-quota” deal between the UK and the EU. Ceta does not do that.

Ceta gets rid of most, but not all, tariffs (that’s taxes on imports) on goods traded between the EU and Canada. Tariffs remain on poultry, meat and eggs.

It also increases quotas (that’s the amount of a product that can be exported without extra charges) but does not get rid of them altogether. For example, quotas on EU cheese exports to Canada increase from 18,500 tonnes to 31,972 tonnes a year.

It does little for the trade in services and in particular almost nothing for the trade in financial services, which is very important for the UK economy.

It also does not remove border checks, so there is still a possibility that goods have to be examined at ports to make sure they meet regulatory requirements, and their paperwork is in order.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the CETA summit in October 2016
What does it say about standards?

Ceta protects EU “geographical indications”, meaning for example that you can only make Parma ham in Italy and camembert cheese in France, and Canada can’t import something that calls itself camembert from any other country.

They have also agreed to open up government contracts to each other, so Canadian companies could bid to build French railways, for example.

There is also co-operation between the two countries on standards, so a piece of equipment made in an EU country can go through all its safety and quality checks there, without needing to have them repeated in Canada – and vice versa.

Ceta also allows professional qualifications to be recognised both in Canada and the EU, making it easier, for example, for architects or accountants to work in both places.

And it aligns Canadian rules in some areas of copyright and patents with those of the EU.

Is the UK’s trade with the EU like Canada’s?

Countries that are closer to each other tend to trade more, especially in goods, and this is the case with the UK and the EU.

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