Lord Mark Price: Canada trade deal boon for Scotland

MEPs have recently backed the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (Ceta) between the European Union and Canada '“ despite the SNP voting first for and then against the deal.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen opposed the Ceta trade deal between the EU and Canada. Picture: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen opposed the Ceta trade deal between the EU and Canada. Picture: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Since then, there has been discussion of this trade deal and what it might mean for Scotland.

I wanted to help balance the rhetoric by showing that this vote brings huge opportunities for Scottish businesses.

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Ceta will scrap 98 per cent of tariffs and barriers on trade between the EU and Canada. So, from this spring, businesses across Scotland will be able to trade with Canada with significantly lower costs. The deal allows Scottish companies to strike up productive relationships with Canada and make the most of the demand for Scottish goods and services.

It is estimated that economic benefits for the UK from Ceta could be as much as £1.3 billion a year eventually. It is also estimated to increase our exports to Canada by 29 per cent. Ceta is so important for future bilateral trade relations with Canada. We are Canada’s third-largest export market for goods, and second largest export market for services.

The government expects Ceta to be positive for UK agriculture, and will provide new opportunities for world-leading British food to exploit a valuable market of more than 35 million people.

The Protected Food Names Scheme is not affected by Ceta and remains in place for food and drink sold within the EU. The government recognises the benefits from protecting the very best of our traditional and geographical food products and will continue to work with producers.

As we leave the EU, the UK government will ensure we get the best deal for all parts of the country and for all sectors. In the meantime, the Ceta deal will bring big business benefits to Scotland and provide a chance for companies to lay solid foundations for future trade with Canada.

In the future, we want Britain to have the greatest possible tariff and barrier-free trade in goods and services with our European neighbours and also to be able to negotiate our own trade agreements with the rest of the world. But for now, we’re helping UK companies make the most of the opportunities this new deal brings and we want Scottish firms to seize upon the chance to boost business in Canada.

We have recently launched a brand new tool to help would-be exporters get involved with global deals – great.gov.uk. The site contains thousands of live export opportunities all over the world, including in Canada. With Ceta set to be provisionally applied this spring, there’s never been a better time to take Canada up on its offer.

• Lord Mark Price is minister of state for trade policy at the Department for International Trade