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May to visit Canada to save billions in post-Brexit UK exports

The UK might lose more than £2 billion in exports to Canada after leaving the European Union (EU), warns a campaign group, as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to visit the country to discuss future ties.

According to Open Britain, the organization campaigning for a soft Brexit, leaving the EU means the UK would no longer be part of a controversial EU-Canada trade deal that was expected to boost British exports to Canada by around 30 percent upon implementation next week.

The deal, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA, has been in the works for over seven years and would increase UK exports by £2.1 billion, according to the group.

However, Britain would be forced to leave it in March 2019, once Brexit negotiations with the EU come to an end.

Chris Leslie, a Labour MP who supports Open Britain, told The Independent that the May was “on thin ice” and would be “begging” Trudeau for a new trade deal during her trip to Ottawa on Monday.

“The best the Prime Minister can even hope for is that we ‘copy and paste’ the deals the EU has negotiated on our behalf. That is what Theresa May will be begging Justin Trudeau for when she arrives on her visit today,” the MP said.

The lawmaker took the opportunity to promote his party’s support for a soft Brexit that leaves access to the EU single market and the custom union in place, instead of the hard Brexit that May and the ruling Conservative Party have been pushing for which would cut access to both zones.

“The worse our access to the EU market becomes, the less likely it is that we will get a good deal from the Canadians,” he said. “Theresa May needs to rethink her ideological choice to leave the single market and the customs union.”

May said ahead of the trip that she was almost certain about striking an agreement with Trudeau on trade.

“We are both countries with ambitions to lead on the world stage and progressive values that underpin those ambitions – values including the importance of free trade, and respect for international law,” the PM said.

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