The British food industry received a boost this week as the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was applied - meaning that British businesses will see 98% of tariffs and barriers removed on trade between the EU and Canada.
This followed the PM’s successful visit earlier in the week, when she welcomed the news that tariffs will be cut to zero on 92% of food and drink, and agreed with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to seek a seamless transition as the UK exits the EU.
Canada has a taste for British food and drink. Latest figures from the Food & Drink Federation (FDF) show sales growth to the country of 8.5 %, with a total value of £10.2bn in the first half of 2017.
Apart from the three billion litres of alcohol consumed by Canadians every year, the country has agreed to increase its cheese import quotas and will eliminate tariffs on a number of products of interest to British exporters, including beef, jams, marmalades, sauces, condiments, mayonnaise and salad dressings.
British producers will also benefit from the elimination of Canadian customs duties on certain ciders, wines, spirits and soft drinks, and zero tariffs on spirits.
Canada is a significant market - the world’s 11th largest economy with a population of over 35 million - and the economic benefits of CETA to Britain will be significant, generating jobs and economic growth on both sides.
It is also an important blueprint for what our future trading relationship with Canada could look like. The UK is the fourth-largest source of investment into Canada and second most popular destination for Canadian investment abroad. Our ties are deep-rooted and unbreakable.
There’s never been a better time for British businesses to make the most of the opportunities offered by close trade relations, and few sectors are better placed to take advantage of them than our world class food and drink producers.
CETA is a great opportunity to pave the way for a prosperous bilateral future with an important, growing market.
Greg Hands is trade policy minister