UK to press for Canada-style trade deal with EU when talks start in March

FILE PHOTO: European Union's Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (not pictured) hold a joint news conference in Luxembourg, February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will underline its desire for a Canada-style trade deal with the EU when formal talks start next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office said on Saturday.

Ministers will meet on Tuesday to sign off on the formal trade mandate document which will frame Britain’s negotiating aims, before it is published on Thursday.

“The UK has made clear a number of times, and will reiterate, its desire for a Canada-style deal,” Downing Street said in a statement.

The EU-Canada deal, which came into force provisionally in 2017, removes most tariffs on goods traded between the two countries but does little to facilitate trade in financial services, which are very important for the UK economy.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said Britain cannot have such a deal free from the bloc’s rules and French president Emmanuel Macron said earlier on Saturday it was not clear whether an agreement can be reached, as Johnson wants, by the end of the year.

Johnson’s office said there were not expected to be any surprises in the mandate document, which aims for a future relationship based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals.

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