The United Kingdom is the third largest international destination for Canadian goods, since some 600 Canadian companies have over 1,000 branches in the United Kingdom. French exports to the United Kingdom totalled 27 billion euros in 2021, which makes it France’s sixth largest trading partner.
In the 2016 referendum, British people voted just over 50% in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. The agreement came into effect in January 2021. The term Brexit, a contraction of British and exit, is used to refer to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU.
What does this mean for Canadian and French exporters?
Since the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU single market, customs union and free trade zone, its trade relationship with Canada is no longer governed by the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Since 2021, it has been governed by the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Agreement (Canada-UK TCA). This agreement preserves preferential market access for Canadian and British companies, including the elimination of tariffs on 98% of Canadian products exported to the United Kingdom.
In France, the effect of the pandemic on exports were felt in 2019-2020 and in the beginning of 2021, as Brexit took effect. So it is difficult to say if Brexit is responsible for the 30% decrease in French exports to the United Kingdom in 2021. Fortunately however, the level of exports has since surpassed that of before the health crisis (source).
On the other hand, with Brexit, border customs controls have complicated the administrative procedures for transporting goods. French customs, which handle 80% of exports, had to manage the customs clearance of 12,000 trucks per day! Seven hundred customs officers were hired to assign a barcode to trucks so that they no longer had to stop at the border.
Contact a specialist
Canadian and French SME owners who would like more information about how to expand their businesses in the United Kingdom can contact an GoExport export specialist. We will help you manage your risk, secure financing and access working capital so you can confidently develop your projects.
Canada Customs Notices
- Proposed Regulatory Amendments and Proposed New Regulations Related to the Implementation of the Canada – United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement (Customs Notice 21-08)
- Implementation of the Canada – United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement (Customs Notice 21-07)
- Amendments to the Departmental Consolidation of the Customs Tariff (Customs Notice 21-06)
France / United Kingdom Customs