Britain and Canada are hoping to strike an agreement by the end of the year. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss tweeted: “Trade talks with Canada have commenced.
“The aim is to provide continuity for businesses by the end of the transition period.
“Both the UK and Canada are committed to protecting & strengthening our £19.7bn trading relationship.”
Trade expert Sam Lowe said the two sides are “optimistic” a deal can be struck by the end of the year.
He tweeted: “Trade talks with Canada back on.
“Both UK and Canada optimistic continuity deal can be signed before the end of the year.”
Britain officially left the EU on January 31 and is in a transition period with the bloc until December 31.
But with just months to go until the end of the year, little progress has been made in trade talks with Brussels.
In comments due to be made today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set a deadline of October 15 for a deal with the EU.
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Mr Johnson will also insist leaving the EU without a trade deal would still be a “good outcome” for the UK.
But the Prime Minister will add there is “still an agreement to be had” based on deals Brussels has previously reached with “Canada and so many others”.
He will say: “Even at this late stage, if the EU are ready to rethink their current positions and agree this I will be delighted.
“But we cannot and will not compromise on the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country to get it.”
Fishing arrangements and state aid rules have proved to be the biggest stumbling blocks in post-Brexit negotiations.
The eighth round of talks led by Lord Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier take place in London this week.
Mr Johnson looks to have raised the stakes ahead of the negotiations, with reports the Prime Minister is planning new legislation that would override key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement, which sealed Britain’s exit from the EU in January.
Sections of the Internal Market Bill, due to be published on Wednesday, are expected to “eliminate” the legal force of the Withdrawal Agreement in areas including state aid and Northern Ireland customs, according to the Financial Times.
As part of the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the region is expected to continue to follow some EU rules after the transition period ends in 2021 to avoid a hard border.
Of the reports, a Government spokeswoman said it was working to “protect Northern Ireland’s place in our United Kingdom”.
She said: “We are working hard to resolve outstanding issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol through the Joint Committee and will continue to approach these discussions in good faith.
“As a responsible Government, we are considering fall back options in the event this is not achieved to ensure the communities of Northern Ireland are protected.”