Boris Johnson pleads with Canada to import more ‘affordable, high-quality British cheese’


Boris Johnson pleads with Canada to import more ‘affordable, high-quality British cheese’ into the country in a new post-Brexit agreement

  • PM spoke to Canadian broadcaster CBC ahead of the G7 in Cornwall next week
  • Complained that a trade deal had been held up by disagreements over cheese
  • Justin Trudeau under pressure from Canadian farmers over imports from Europe

Boris Johnson has urged the Canadian government to allow increased imports of ‘affordable, high-quality British cheese’ ahead of talks on a free trade deal.

The Prime Minister used an interview with Canadian broadcaster CBC to complain that preliminary talks on a new commerce agreement had been held up by Ottawa’s reluctance to increase imports.

Justin Trudeau is under pressure from Canadian farmers over the amount of cheese being imported from Europe.

The two countries agreed an interim arrangement in November ahead of full talks due to take place in the autumn.

But they could not come to an agreement on cheese, so they simply rolled-over the EU/Canada arrangement that existed before Brexit as a stop-gap measure.

Speaking to CBC last night Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m hopeful that we will be able to do a thorough-going free trade deal.  

The Prime Minister used an interview with Canadian broadcaster CBC to complain that preliminary talks on a new commerce agreement had been held up by Ottawa’s reluctance to increase imports.

Justin Trudeau is under pressure from Canadian farmers over the amount of cheese being imported from Europe.

Justin Trudeau is under pressure from Canadian farmers over the amount of cheese being imported from Europe.

The two countries agreed an interim arrangement in November ahead of full talks due to take place in the autumn. But they could not come to an agreement on cheeses like Stilton (pictured)

The two countries agreed an interim arrangement in November ahead of full talks due to take place in the autumn. But they could not come to an agreement on cheeses like Stilton (pictured)

‘As I recall we were slightly held up by the Canadian reluctance to allow too much British cheese to tempt the palates of Canadians. 

‘I think what is really needed now is more affordable, high-quality British cheese in Canada and I hope that we can do a deal to allow that.’

Under the terms of the agreement, the UK and Canada will continue trading under the terms as the current EU system after the Brexit transition period ends.

A section specifically addressing cheese gives the two sides until June 30, 2023 to come up with a new agreement on the dairy delicacy or revert to WTO terms. 

Mr Johnson and Mr Trudeau are due to meet in Cornwall next week week when the UK hosts the  G7.

Mr Johnson told CBC he wants the upcoming Group of Seven summit to reach agreement on Covid-19 vaccine passports and to open talks on a ‘world treaty’.

‘We need to have agreements on issues such as vaccine passports, Covid status certification and the rest,’ Johnson said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

‘There has to be some sort of agreement then, at the G7 level to start, on how travel and passports are going to work.’ 

Johnson said it was also a bad time ‘for believers in global cooperation, because the world simply became balkanized,’ with many countries slow to share stocks of protective equipment, medicines and vaccines.

‘We’ve got to do better than this,’ the prime minister added. ‘Vaccination has got to be a global enterprise.’

He said it was crucial that developing countries receive vaccine supplies as quickly as possible.

Rather than the goal set by some of vaccinating the world by 2024 or 2025, Johnson set a more ambitious target, saying, ‘We need to get this done by the end of next year.’

As to the debate over the origins of the pandemic – which flared up recently when President Joe Biden ordered a new intelligence report on the problem – Johnson said he still leaned to the theory that it had spread from wild animals to humans, not leaked from a Chinese laboratory.

‘But,’ he added, ‘I’m not going to exclude any possibility.’

Johnson, who himself was hospitalized last year with a serious case of Covid, has faced sharp criticism in Britain for his early handling of the pandemic there.

The G7 summit will be an in-person affair. The group was set to meet last summer in the US, but Covid concerns led to the meeting’s cancellation.

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