ICAS: Canadian example provides lessons for Brexit trade negotiations

Global accountancy body ICAS has urged the UK Government to “learn from Canada” as it embarks on trade negotiations with the EU.

ICAS: Canadian example provides lessons for Brexit trade negotiations

ICAS commissioned an independent report by Canadian experts who were close to the CETA (Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement) negotiations.

Published in November 2017, ICAS has argued that the report provides relevant lessons for the trade negotiations set to commence in March.

Bruce Cartwright CA, ICAS chief executive, said: “We believe that the UK government can learn from the Canadian experience. The Canadian negotiators have been there and done it with the EU. CETA is a great baseline. However, because of fundamental differences between the UK and Canadian economies we believe that Britain needs to go further in key areas.

“The British negotiating team can learn from the Canada experience and deliver a deal which goes considerably beyond CETA. We also believe that learning from Canada could be crucial in reducing the length of time it takes to strike a deal by providing pointers to where agreed elements of CETA could be lifted and applied to Brexit.”

The ICAS report CETA, Brexit and Beyond looks at lessons to be learned from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and its usefulness as a model for Brexit.

The report highlights how Canada still does not have a ratified deal on financial services; shows how the CETA deal only secured temporary entry for professional services into Europe; and points to the importance of “negative lists” which mean that everything is in unless it is specifically agreed as out.

Report author Dr James Ogilvy had a privileged position as a close observer of the Canadian EU negotiations when he worked as an advisor for the Government of Alberta. His work highlights a number of subject areas that are covered by CETA and relates them to the circumstances of the UK.

These include:

  • Reduction or elimination of tariffs
  • Expansion of access to government procurement
  • Enhancement of temporary access for professionals and business people
  • Creation of an independent dispute settlement body
  • Reduction of technical barriers to trade
  • Simplification of rules of origin
  • Market access for services
  • Reduction of administrative burden.

The ICAS report concludes that a similar deal to CETA will not by itself serve the needs of the UK.

The report states that the UK could benefit from using the CETA in a number of ways:­ as a basis for comparison, a blueprint for defining subject-matter, an indicator of the EU’s preferences and sticking points, and a guide to those areas that will require extra effort to achieve the desired results.

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