Canada extols free trade with UK

Standing together: Canada's High Commissioner said that “prompt ratification of an agreement” will send an important signal about free trade Standing together: Canada's High Commissioner said that “prompt ratification of an agreement” will send an important signal about free trade

Canada’s High Commissioner has told British MPs that the UK should stand with Canada in promoting free trade on the international stage during Brexit negotiations.

Speaking at Associated British Ports (ABP’s) summer lunch in Parliament, Her Excellency Janice Charette said that the UK is a hugely important market for Canada and “prompt ratification of an agreement” will send an important signal about the country’s commitment to free trade.

She added: “It is important that countries like the UK stand with us on the international stage to speak for open markets and free trade to push back against the forces of protectionism.”

ABP, the UK's largest ports operator, owns 21 ports around Britain, including Southampton which is the UK's number one export port.

James Cooper, ABP chief executive, said: "It was a privilege to listen to the Canadian High Commissioner and her remarks underlining the continued importance of trade between our two countries.”

Mr Cooper highlighted ABP's ongoing work with the Government to make sure trade can continue to grow and flow as smoothly as possible.

ABP has invested £100 million since the referendum in new facilities and infrastructure, helping its customers' businesses to grow.

Mr Cooper pointed out that it is well known that ports with limited space will struggle to accommodate additional customs’ checks for EU trade, if they are implemented.

But he said that a number ABP ports, especially those on the Humber, do not suffer from this problem and are capable of continuing to offer customers sustainable and reliable trade links with mainland Europe.

His comments echoed Flemish Minister, Bem Weyts, who recently declared that Flemish ports such as Zeebrugge, Antwerp and Ghent stand ready to keep UK-EU trade flowing.

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