Message from the High Commissioner for Canada to the U.K. following her visit to Edinburgh
On the 7th of August, amid the wonderful buzz of festival season in your beautiful city, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a roundtable with the Chamber of Commerce. It was an ideal moment to meet with Scottish companies and discuss the Canada-UK commercial relationship and how we can increase trade and investment between Scotland and Canada. We welcomed a mix of companies already doing business in Canada and others looking to explore our market. The result was a great peer to peer exchange on the opportunities and challenges faced by exporters and the support that Canada can provide to those seeking to partner or invest in Canada.
We come to these discussions from a terrific starting point – like the UK, Canada is a trading nation. With a population of 36 million – only 0.5% of the world’s population – Canada is responsible for 2.5% of global trade. Two-thirds of our Gross National Product (GNP) is attributable to trade.
This history of looking to international markets, to seek foreign investment or opportunities to invest abroad, and to forge new trading relationships creates natural links between our two economies. The UK is Canada’s largest commercial partner in Europe and our fifth largest globally after the US, China, Mexico and Japan. In 2017, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and the UK was $26.1 billion. This is underpinned by significant two-way investment. More than 700 UK firms have a presence in Canada and more than 1100 UK firms are owned or directed by Canadian companies. Additionally, Canada and the UK enjoy strong partnerships in science, technology and innovation (STI) with many links between our world-leading researchers, universities, funding agencies, commercialization groups and companies – all supported by the Canada-UK Memorandum of Understanding on STI.
Building on this longstanding relationship, UK companies can now take advantage of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which entered into force in September 2017. CETA eliminates 98% of all tariffs between Canada and the EU, increases access to public procurement, and improves labour mobility.
I urge UK companies to take full advantage of CETA not only when thinking about exporting to Canada, but also when looking to invest. Canada has a highly skilled, diverse labour force and is committed to growing this talent though progressive immigration policies. Firms may also be able to take advantage of generous R&D tax credits.
UK companies and consumers will continue to enjoy the advantages of CETA while the UK negotiates its departure from the European Union. In September 2017, Prime Minister May visited Canada and together with Prime Minister Trudeau stressed their intention to achieve a seamless transition on trade as the UK exits the EU.
I look forward to working with members of the Chamber here in Edinburgh and with companies across Scotland to continue to grow this wonderfully robust relationship that we enjoy.
I would also invite and encourage both Canadian and UK companies to take advantage of the diverse services offered by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) based in London. The TCS supports UK companies looking to invest in Canada, find new Canadian suppliers or partners for joint ventures and innovation collaboration and works closely with the Department for International Trade and Scottish Development International who can support companies that are looking to export into the Canadian market.
By HE Mrs. Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada in the UK.