Bill Morneau, Canada’s finance minister, has dampened hopes that Britain would have a close trading pact with his country, once the UK leaves the EU. He told the Financial Times, “from our perspective, clearly the Nafta [North American Free Trade Agreement] relationship [with the US] is of huge importance. That’s our biggest relationship by a very big margin, so that’s important to us. And then the Ceta relationship [with the EU] opens up a very significant market. 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.”
Mr Morneau’s comments are aligned closely with the views of some economists who argue that the distance between, and the size of, trading partners takes precedence over historical links when shaping trading relationships between countries. Essentially, despite the ‘affinity’ between the UK and Canada, which is recognised by Mr Morneau, a UK trade deal is not at the top of the finance minister’s agenda. However, he emphasised that Nafta is incredibly advantageous for Canada, and is open to considering ways to improve its trading relationship with the US.