Johnson’s exit will not affect free trade talks

Mary Woolf, The Canadian Press

Ottawa – The Canadian government says the removal of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson by his party will not affect relations between London and Ottawa, including negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Global Affairs Canada and the Department for International Trade both indicated on Thursday that ties with the UK would remain strong and that the removal of the British prime minister would not affect talks for a free trade deal.

Canada’s High Commissioner to Britain, Ralph Goodley, said political developments in London were “certainly important”, but added that Canada had a “fundamental belief” in the strength and functioning of British democracy.

“Our common preferences do not depend on individual considerations,” he said. Key issues such as free trade negotiations, support for Ukraine, building closer security and intelligence partnerships, and tackling climate change will continue to progress as planned and as needed. expect for.”

His remarks come at a time of great political turmoil in Westminster, which led to the ouster of Boris Johnson from his only three-year term as prime minister.

In a statement outside 10 Downing Street on Thursday, Mr Johnson announced he was resigning as leader of the Conservative Party and would step down as prime minister as soon as his succession is secure. Conservative MPs demanded his departure and several ministers 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 as trade agreements concluded under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union no longer apply to the post-Brexit United Kingdom.

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“a long story”

In Ottawa on Thursday, Alice Hansen, spokeswoman for International Trade Minister Mary Ng, said talks on the new trade deal would go smoothly because Canada and the UK have a long history and narrow ties.

Mr Johnson, who led Britain’s exit from the EU, has always been a strong supporter of closer ties with Canada, including trade, since this ‘Brexit’.

The two countries have signed a “Trade Continuity Agreement” to keep most of the provisions of the Europe Agreement in place until a new bilateral agreement is reached. Formal talks started last March.

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

Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Sabrina Williams said Thursday that the United Kingdom is one of Canada’s closest and most important allies. He said the two countries have “a long tradition of mutually beneficial relations and close strategic partnership.”

However, it is likely that there is some uncertainty in Ottawa about whether Britain’s tough stance on Ukraine – including the supply of military equipment – will continue amid the 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 propaganda campaigns.

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

Note to readers: Revised edition, on 13th paragraph: Sabrina Williams is Canada’s spokesperson for global affairs, not Melanie Jolie, Canadian Secretary of State.

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