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Hormone Treated Beef Proves the Final Straw in Stalling Trade Talks with Canada

The UK has stopped trade talks with Canada following disagreements over beef and cheese.  

The talks, which begun in 2022, were an attempt by both countries to negotiate a post EU deal. During this time, trade between the UK and Canada continued under similar terms to those enjoyed prior to Brexit. British cheese and cars, for instance, attracted zero duty on import into Canada. 

Recently though, preferential treatment for British cheese expired. The UK government’s inability to negotiate an extension to this arrangement, known as the ‘cheese letters’, left UK cheese liable for up to 245% import duty and UK traders concerned for the future of trade talks between the two countries.  

As of today (26.10.24), the latest round of talks has reached an impasse over the UK’s refusal to accept hormone treated beef. 

Canada is currently Britain’s 13th largest export market, worth £16.1 billion to the UK economy for the four quarters up until Q2 2023. Suspending trade talks, though, means that UK trade with Canada is in a less favourable position that before the UK’s EU exit.   

A UK government spokesperson stated that the UK remains open to restarting talks with Canada in the future. It’s unclear, however, how a future agreement would be reached, with both sides standing firm on their agricultural and produce stances.  

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