Meat & Livestock News

UK-Canada Free Trade Agreement Talks Put on Hold

Negotiations between the UK and Canada for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have been temporarily suspended. These talks aimed to update the existing agreement, which has allowed the UK to trade with Canada on favourable terms since leaving the EU.

The UK has benefited from this relationship, particularly in agricultural exports. In 2022, significant exports to Canada included cheese (£18.7 million), beef (£9.2 million), and lamb (£4.9 million). However, since 1 January 2024, the UK’s access to the EU Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) for cheese has ceased. Now, UK exports are limited to the non-EU TRQ, which is predominantly occupied by Swiss and Norwegian products. Outside of this TRQ, cheese exports face a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff exceeding 200%.

A major obstacle in the negotiations has been the issue of Canadian beef access to the UK market. The UK’s stance against accepting hormone-treated beef remains firm, which has become a significant point of contention. This position effectively blocks Canadian beef from entering the UK market under the proposed FTA terms.

Looking ahead, the UK is expected to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in the latter half of 2024. This membership would allow the UK to trade on preferential terms with CPTPP members, including Canada. However, this is contingent on individual member agreements. Without Canada’s agreement, the UK will not automatically regain access to the Canadian cheese market.