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Free trade: the ousting of Boris Johnson would have no impact on the negotiations

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Global Affairs Canada and the Department for International Trade both signaled on Thursday that relations with the United Kingdom will remain strong and that the ousting of the British prime minister will not harm the negotiations of this free trade agreement.

Ralph Goodale, Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, said political developments in London are certainly importantbut argues that Canada has basic trust in the strength and functioning of British democracy.

Our common priorities do not depend on personal considerationshe said.

Key files such as free trade negotiations, support for Ukraine, building closer security and intelligence partnerships, and tackling climate change will continue to progress as planned. »

A quote from Ralph Goodale, High Commissioner for Canada to the United Kingdom

His remarks come at a time of major political upheaval in Westminster, which led to the ousting of Boris Johnson as prime minister after just three years in office.

In a statement outside 10 Downing Street on Thursday, Mr Johnson announced he was stepping down as Conservative Party leader and would step down as Prime Minister as soon as his succession is secured. Conservative MPs demanded his departure and several ministers had even resigned from his cabinet.

But some also want Mr Johnson to step down as prime minister immediately.

Canada and the United Kingdom are negotiating a new bilateral trade agreement because the trade agreements concluded under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union no longer applied to the United Kingdom after Brexit.

A long story

In Ottawa on Thursday, Alice Hansen, a spokeswoman for International Trade Minister Mary Ng, said negotiations on the new trade deal will continue smoothly because Canada and the UK share a long history and close ties.

Mr Johnson, who spearheaded the UK’s exit from the European Union, has always been a strong supporter of closer ties with Canada, including on trade, since Brexit.

The two countries signed a business continuity agreement to keep most of the provisions of the Europe Agreement in place, pending the conclusion of a new bilateral agreement. Formal negotiations began last March.

The United Kingdom is the third largest destination for Canadian exports, after the United States and China.

Sabrina Williams, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said Thursday that the United Kingdom is one of Canada’s closest and most important allies. She said the two countries had a mutually beneficial relationship and a long tradition of close strategic partnership.

It is likely, however, that there is a degree of uncertainty in Ottawa as to whether Britain’s strong stance in favor of Ukraine, including the supply of military equipment, will continue with the same energy amid political unrest in London.

Mr. Johnson has always been a staunch opponent of the invasion of Ukraine, working closely with Canada and other Western countries to impose sanctions on Moscow and counter Russia’s disinformation campaigns.

Under his leadership, the United Kingdom also supported increased Arctic security and surveillance to protect sovereignty over Canada’s northern flank.

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