Capitalising on Canadian-British opportunities in a post-Brexit world

Sara Ghaffari

Board Director

PLMR’s Sara Ghaffari takes a look at what opportunities Brexit presents for Canadian and British businesses.

Ahead of the referendum in June, the Brexit campaign argued that leaving the European Union would lead to better and faster trade treaties with non-EU countries, and allow Britain to take on a leadership role in the Commonwealth.

This opportunity was brought into clearer focus last week when the controversial Canadian-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) stalled again.

The deal, that has been seven years in the making – CETA – continues to face fierce opposition. At a joint news conference, Mr Trudeau stressed that in a post Brexit world the failure of the deal would send “a clear message to the world that Europe is engaged in a path that is not useful for its citizens and the world.”

The UK is Canada’s most important commercial partner in Europe and it’s third-largest trading partner, with more than C$20bn (£11.5bn) of exports last year. Brexit means that if CETA is ratified it will not apply in Britain and the British Government will be charged with making a new trade deal with Canada.

Brexit and CETA, present a number of commercial and investment opportunities, and both British and Canadian companies should be looking to capitalise on these by:

1. Starting engagement early
For those interested in making sure they get the best deal for their business starting engagement early will be key – now is the time for reflection and blue-sky thinking.

The overhaul of the UK’s current regulatory framework is a once in a generation opportunity to shape favourable trading interests. European policy, which touches all British legislation and affects all sectors, will be reviewed over the next two years as part of the Great Repeal Act. This represents a chance for businesses to get involved in amending and improving all aspects of legislation which affects them.

What policies would you like to see changed?
Are the policies outlined in CETA favourable for your business?
What more could the British Government do to help your business?

2. Making sure you are informed
New trade deals mean new incentives for foreign investment. Canadian companies operating or looking to invest in the UK should capitalise on the post-Brexit environment and make sure they are well informed on the commercial and fiscal opportunities arising.

The UK will continue to be an ideal location for Canadian companies to launch into Europe given the current drop in the pound and that we remain, along with Ireland, the only English speaking countries in Europe. To steal a phrase from Boris Johnson, “whilst we are leaving the European Union, we remain in Europe.”

Similarly, any trade deal negotiated by the British Government will be filled with new opportunities for British companies looking to expand to Canada. The British government will be keen to get the best deal for British companies wanting to export to Canada.

If international trade and investment is a priority for you and your company – engage, raise your voice and make sure you capitalise on the benefits which come your way.

The Government does not yet know how Brexit will affect British industries and is looking for businesses in all sectors to inform them. The potential of positive opportunities for organisations could be immense if businesses know how to influence decision-makers in the right way.

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