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Trade negotiations between UK and Canada suspended due to steep increase in cheese tariffs

Trade negotiations between UK and Canada suspended due to steep increase in cheese tariffs Canada, cheese, soar, tariffs, trade negotiations, UK Food and Beverage Business

Trade negotiations between Canada and the UK have been halted due to an increase in import tariffs on British cheese and the UK’s advocacy for the export of hormone-treated beef from Canada. The two countries have been in discussions to establish a new trade agreement since March 2022, following a previous deal that allowed the UK to sell cheese and cars to Canada without import tax.

In 2024, Canada imposed higher tariffs of 245% on British cheeses falling outside of the existing quota for non-EU imports, with British car companies facing a similar tariff starting April 2024. The UK’s proposal for tax-free cheese exports was rejected by Canada at the end of 2023, resulting in the suspension of trade talks as the UK insisted on maintaining restrictions on its agricultural products.

The relaxation of the UK ban on hormone-treated beef would enable Canada to increase exports to the UK, given Canada’s more lenient restrictions on the use of hormones in beef production. According to the UK Government, total trade between the two countries was valued at £19.2 billion in 2020, with UK imports from Canada worth £7.3 billion and UK exports to Canada worth £11.8 billion.

Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng expressed her government’s stance, stating that they “will never agree to a deal that isn’t good for our workers, farmers and businesses.” The UK Government spokesperson reiterated their commitment to negotiate trade deals that benefit the British people, emphasizing their right to pause negotiations if progress is not being made.

Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), supported the government’s position, stating, “We have already damaged our economy and agricultural sector by fully liberalising on trade deals with Australia and New Zealand. We had to take a strong line on this.” It is clear that both countries are intent on prioritizing the interests of their respective industries and workers in any trade agreement moving forward.

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