United Kingdom Prime Minister hopeful Jeremy Hunt has stated that he will recruit former Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to lead his Brexit negotiating team building upon his experience to secure a Canadian-style free-trade deal between the UK and EU… As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper negotiated the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Arrangement (CETA) trade deal with the EU for 9 years and it was finalised just shortly after he left the office. His job would essentially be to expand such an agreement to the United Kingdom and work closely with the Canadian administration, with the collective negotiating clout of Canada and the United Kingdom being stronger than both countries separately.
On the USA front, Jeremy Hunt is also lining up Rona Ambrose, former Canadian health minister who was one of Canada’s team negotiators between Canada and the United States following changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) following changes to NAFTA by the Trump administration. Recall that one of the most contentious issues between the UK and the USA, regarding the UK-USA free trade agreement is due to the vastly different approaches of healthcare. With the UK’s prized National Health Service (NHS) being subsidised and the USA’s health service being highly insurance based. The second most contentious issue is on the differences in food standards between the UK and the USA. In both these cases, in comparison to the USA, the UK and Canadian healthcare model and food standards are virtually identical and again makes a case for Canada and the United Kingdom to collectively negotiate with the USA.
This clearly shows that Jeremy Hunt is looking for the UK to have a Canada-style relationship with both the EU and USA post-Brexit. This should pave the way for closer ties between Canada and the United Kingdom, two countries which are already extremely politically and culturally aligned and may build upon the CANZUK Treaty proposed as a “flagship game-changing policy” by the Canadian Conservative Party.
Jeremy Hunt has also revealed that he would replace Oliver Robbins, Theresa May’s former chief negotiator with Crawford Falconer, the Scottish born New Zealander who is the chief negotiator at the Department of International Trade. This once again pushes closer political ties between the United Kingdom and New Zealand furthering the case for the CANZUK Treaty.