HANGZHOU, China – International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland says British Prime Minister Theresa May has reaffirmed her government’s post-Brexit support for Canada’s free trade deal with the European Union.
The UK government expressed support for the still-unsigned agreement, also known as CETA, despite the country’s referendum decision to leave the 28-country bloc.
Freeland says May made the remarks Sunday in a brief meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit in Hangzhou, China.
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Trudeau and his delegation have been using the G20 as a venue to attempt to frame the contentious Canada-EU trade deal as a progressive pact.
The accord is facing opposition among some centre-left groups in Europe, including in Germany, amid concerns it favours multinational corporations and will fail to create jobs.
The prime minister and Freeland have also made repeated warnings about the risks of a growing anti-trade sentiment in Europe and the United States.
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The president of the European Commission has expressed his strong support for CETA, telling the G20 summit on Sunday that it is the “best and most-progressive” trade agreement the EU has ever negotiated.
Jean-Claude Juncker said the accord deserved the full support of the EU’s member states and rapid ratification.
Freeland has called CETA a gold-plated deal that, once ratified, will give Canada greater access to a market of more than 400 million people.