Canada trade chief: Brexit will cause 8% drop in exports to UK

A Canadian trade said he expects Canada’s trade with Britain to drop by up to 8% against previous forecasts in the wake of Brexit.

Bruce Dunlop, vice-president for International Business Development at Export Development Canada (EDC), told Business Insider that he expects UK-Canadian trade to suffer in the short-term due to the “uncertainty” created by Brexit.

Businesses will “put plans on hold until they find out what the terms [of negotiation] look like,” Dunlop said.

EDC is opening an export agency office in London this week. The government-run corporation promotes direct Canadian investment abroad, as well as investment into Canada. Dunlop said the new London site indicates long-term confidence in Canada’s trading relationship with the United Kingdom, despite short-term difficulties.

The UK is a valuable market for Canada, which exported £11.5 billion ($15 billion) worth of goods to Britain last year. 62% of that trade came from Canada’s gold-mining industry.

Dunlop said that the EDC’s “long-term view” meant that they were able to see past the destabilising effects of Brexit negotiations.

“We consider ourselves a stable, long-term source of capital, so we will often take a much longer view than financial institutions, which might be a little more quarter-to-quarter. We’ve seen economic crises come and go. This might cause a mini one, with the uncertainty created, but we have lots of confidence in the UK long-term,
” he said.

Canada’s relationship with the UK once it has left the European Union remains uncertain. British MPs have speculated that an independent UK could sign up to CETA, a free-trade agreement that has been provisionally agreed by the EU and Canada.

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