The Legal Structure of the Trading Relationship of the United Kingdom and Canada after Brexit

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Law


To ensure continuity with respect to trade between Canada and the UK after
Brexit formally occurs on 29 March 2019, it is imperative that the legal
basis on which goods and services can be traded between both countries be
known, so that there be clarity as to the law applicable. This involves
ensuring that the appropriate international agreements and all relevant
domestic laws are in place between the UK and other WTO Members
including Canada.

This Knowledge Synthesis will focus on legal issues posed by Brexit for
trade in goods and services between Canada and the UK. To determine the
actions that will be required in order to maintain an open and stable trading
relationship between Canada and the UK after Brexit, it will be necessary to
study the extent to which existing international legal arrangements provide
for a satisfactory trading relationship. To the extent that they have to be
replaced, the areas where new agreements and new domestic legislation will
be needed must be identified and solutions proposed. Domestic legislation
required to implement new arrangements between Canada and the UK must
be identified as well as determining the content of the laws that would apply
should Brexit occur before any arrangement and the appropriate domestic
implementing measures are in place. For example, the default customs tariff
for non-Most Favoured Nation goods coming into Canada is 35%. Were this
level of customs duty to be applied by Canada many UK goods currently
imported would be priced out of the market.

This survey will provide an overview of the appropriate international
agreements governing trade in goods and services, as well as domestic
customs legislation, and legislation regulating the access of different
categories of services into the Canadian and UK markets including air
transport. The applicability of different regulatory regimes for areas as
disparate as agricultural production and atomic energy must also be studied.
The general objective of the survey is to give policy-makers, the business
community, journalists and the general public and understanding of the
relevant issues posed and the state of current information on the subject.

Planned Impact

Knowledge mobilisation plan

In Canada: Government officials - particularly at the Federal but also as appropriate at the Provincial levels. Deputy Ministers of Global Affairs, International Trade, Finance, Industry, Agriculture, Communications. Officials of the Department of Global Affairs from both legal and policy branches (as well as legal officers of the Department of Justice of the Joint Trade Law Bureau) who are charged with negotiating trade agreements. Officials from the Departments of International Trade, Industry, Agriculture and Communications. Officials from the requisite department of the Provincial governments of Québec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia (perhaps other Provinces). Leading academics teaching and writing on matters of trade law and policy McCrae, Bjorklund, Biukovic, VanDuzer, Côté, Ouellet etc). Opinion leaders from major newspapers such as (Globe and Mail, National Post, Le Devoir, La Presse, Calgary Herald. Representatives of leading think tanks (CIGI, C.D.Howe, IRPP). Leading trade lawyers from law firms (Stikeman, Bennett Jones, BLG, etc ) especially those in Ottawa but also Montreal, Toronto Calgary and Vancouver. Leading trade consultants (Earnscliffe, Clark etc).
Apart from the Ottawa meeting, the principal researcher plans to attend the May conference of the Canadian European Studies Association in Toronto, the Society for International Economic Law in Washington DC in June, the Canadian Council on International law in November and similar academic events where trade issues are foremost. A blog is in preparation for the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a Policy Paper later in the year.

In the UK: Government officials - particularly policy and legal heads at the Department for International Trade, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Treasury, and the devolved regions (principally Scotland and Wales). Leading academics teaching and writing on matters of trade law and policy (Hestermeyer, Ortino, Wagner). Opinion leaders from major newspapers such as (The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph). Representatives of leading think tanks, associations and lobby groups (Institute for Government, Institute of Directors, CityUK). Leading trade lawyers from law firms (Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Dechert, Freshfields). Leading trade consultants (Global Counsel, KPMG, PWC). The co-investigator plans to attend various academic meetings devoted to trade law issues. He has already testified before the House of Commons Committee on Brexit and may do so again. He plans to make a presentation to the Lauterpacht Centre on International Law at Cambridge on these matters.


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Description This award focused on the international and domestic legal implications of Brexit for UK-Canada trade relations. The report described the implications for the UK and Canada of a 'deal' and 'no deal' Brexit scenario, and outlined the various steps that each of the UK and Canadian parliaments would have to take in order to implement new trade agreements between them.
Exploitation Route Policymakers and the general public might consider the findings to be of interest in explaining the legal situation post Brexit.
Sectors Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

Description Invited presentation to Scottish Government 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Invited presentation to Scottish Government on UK trade policy after Brexit, 3 June 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019