Canada, Britain trade deal in final stages of talks, as Dec. 31 deadline looms


Canada's international trade minister says a new bilateral deal with Britain is within reach before a December 31 deadline.
The spokeswoman for Trade Minister Mary Ng says Canada is hard at work trying to negotiate an interim agreement with Britain to replace the existing pact with the European Union that currently covers trade between the two countries.
Britain's decision to leave the E-U after its Brexit referendum means that the current Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, will no longer apply to the country at the end of the year.
Youmy Han, Ng's spokeswoman, says Canada is actively negotiating with the British with an eye on the ticking clock.
A spokesman for Britain's international trade department says it is committed to getting a deal with Canada before the end-of-year deadline and that the talks are at an advanced stage.
Trevor Kennedy, the policy director of the Business Council of Canada, says Britain remains a key European trading partner for Canada, and if a new deal isn't reached Canadian firms will lose out on the market access they secured under CETA.