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Divorce isn't easy, but Trudeau predicts orderly Brexit with minimal trade, investment disruption

Last Updated Jan 31, 2020 at 9:02 am PDT

FILE - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to members of caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, January 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Justin Trudeau says he's confident Brexit won't have any major impact on the Canadian economy

Brexit deal becomes official on Friday as Britain leaves the EU

Trudeau says Brexit would have been a big economic threat if it was a hard divorce

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is confident Britain’s exit from the European Union on Friday will be an orderly process with minimal disruption to Canadian trade and investment.

Britain and the EU now have 11 months to negotiate a deal including trade, fisheries, education, transportation and other areas, to avoid a so-called “hard Brexit” that many predict would have dire economic consequences.

Trudeau says that gives Canada some breathing room, as the federal government looks to have a smooth transition in its new relationship with Britain.

“The greatest threat was on a so-called ‘no-deal Brexit’ — they’ve avoided that, they are negotiating with the European Union so that there will be a more orderly transition,” Trudeau says. “We are very confident that we will minimize any disruptions.”

Until the end of the year, Britain remains a member of the EU, and is still bound by the continent’s sweeping free trade deal with Canada on goods and services.

In addition to negotiating with the EU, Britain is also planning to negotiate a series of bilateral deals with Canada, the United States, Australia, Japan and New Zealand before the end of the year.

Canada and the EU have held what has been billed as informal preliminary talks about rolling over elements of the Canada-EU trade pact into a bilateral deal, but no date for formal negotiations has been set.

Meanwhile, now that Britain is leaving the EU, Canada will have to strike a new separate trade agreement with the UK.

“We have actually been engaged with the United Kingdom over the past few years, working on that transition plan to make sure that the very important trade numbers are not disrupted at all.”