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BREXIT: Canadian finance minister says UK not top of trade priorities

Canada will want to strike a trade deal with the UK after it leaves the EU, but the country's finance minister has told the Financial Times that it is not at the top of his agenda.23 Nov 2016

There is an "affinity" between the two countries and Canadians do hold their relationship with the UK "pretty dear", Bill Morneau told the Financial Times. However, "we’re not talking as much about Brexit as you are in the UK," he said.

 

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is currently Canada's main trade relationship and "of huge importance", followed by the newly-signed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU, Morneau said.

"Our opening of exploratory talks with China … we do see as important, and as the UK figures its next steps that will be important too," Morneau told the Financial Times.

Morneau has yet to discuss NAFTA with US president elect Donald Trump but is hopeful that the US will want to maintain the current arrangements as there is more than $2 billion worth of trade every day between the two countries, the newspaper said.

"Our view is that NAFTA has had enormous advantages for the US, for Canada and for Mexico," Morneau said.