The UK’s Permanent Representative to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Simon Manley, gave a statement during Canada’s WTO Trade Policy Review.

Simon Manley CMG
  1. Monsieur le Président, permettez-moi de souhaiter chaleureusement la bienvenue à la délégation Canadienne – dirigée par Monsieur Jay Allen, Directeur Général des négociations commerciales, We are grateful to the Government of Canada and to the WTO Secretariat for their reports, and to you and the Discussant H.E. Mr. Matthew Wilson for facilitating this review with their insights.

  2. Chair, the UK–Canada relationship is among the closest enjoyed by any two countries in the world, demonstrating, as that Canadian icon, Celine Dion would concisely put it, The Power Of Love. We are both members of the Commonwealth, the G7, the G20, NATO, the OECD, and in the coming months, of CPTPP. We share the same head of State, whose official birthday we will celebrating tonight. Our closeness is underpinned by a shared outlook on the world, and we are both driven by the goal of open, values-based democracy achieved through rules-based international institutions and agreements. Like the UK, this has included standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine in the face of the impact of Russia’s law-busting aggression, including just this last weekend at the Peace Summit in Burgenstock.


  1. Turning to the WTO: as you yourself said in your opening remarks, Director General, we would agree that the WTO is an institution that has significant inherent value, that it must be relevant and responsive to challenges, and that we must all work together – including through the WTO – to ensure the benefits of trade extend to underrepresented people.

  2. It is against this context our shared values also ensure that Canada is one of the UK’s closest partners within the WTO. We work closely together, alongside other Members – both developing and developed – towards reform of the WTO within areas such as industrial policy, the environment, and restoring a fully functioning dispute settlement system.

  3. And, Chair, Canada’s input across the WTO agenda at-large is significant. As the proud co-chair of the WTO’s Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender, I can attest to the impact of Canada’s work within that forum, where Canada has taken a leading role in driving forward work on data analysis in particular.

  4. Here it would be remiss of me not to also recognise Canada’s numerous efforts to advance trade and gender equality domestically through initiatives such as the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, and, internationally, through gender provisions in its trade agreements. The UK submitted questions seeking to learn from Canada’s impressive example on Trade and Gender, and we were grateful to receive a number of insightful answers.

  5. Indeed, Canada’s responsive answers to almost all of the UK’s advanced written questions across the board – and ongoing engagement with this important transparency exercise – is greatly appreciated, but not at all surprising.

  6. Looking more broadly, Canada has consistently proved itself to be one of the most active Members of the WTO, through its continual leadership and hard work within Joint Initiatives and negotiations, and of course the eloquence and effervescence of its distinguished Permanent Representative and my dear friend Ambassador Nadia Theodore.

  7. Canada is one of the most proactive WTO Members across the full range of regular work across committees, which are of course the engine of this Organization. Here Canada continues to breathe life into the agenda in bodies across the spectrum, through their many constructive proposals and work on transparency – thus fuelling the WTO’s relevance to the real world outside during what is a period of considerable global uncertainty. Canada plays a similarly constructive role within the G7, G20, and OECD, making it one of the world’s foremost champions of the rules-based international trading system.

Economic Security

  1. The UK also appreciates Canada’s support in upholding the international rules-based economic order, including by making hostile actions harder through strong collaboration against global security threats, unfair trading practices, and economic coercion. An open and resilient global economy is a fundamental pillar for all of our economic and national security interests. By working collaboratively with Canada and other international partners, we can further promote economic openness and strengthen our collective economic resilience.

Bilateral Trade

  1. Chair, the values of economic openness and fairness which define the UK and Canada’s cooperation on a global stage have also long defined the UK-Canada bilateral trading relationship. Worth around 26 billion pounds a year, our bilateral trade is underpinned by the UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement. And we are always looking for ways to deepen, expand, and modernise our already strong partnership, including through UK accession to the CPTPP.

  2. The UK was particularly pleased to read within Canada’s government report that, ‘In the face of global uncertainty, the government of Canada has prioritised pursuit of trade diversification and free trade in order to drive continued global economic growth, rather than turning inward and retreating to protectionism.’

  3. We believe that by continuing to prioritise free trade in the face of protectionism, the UK and Canada can continue to strengthen our bilateral trading relationship. For instance, we welcome the efforts of UK and Canadian regulators to drive forward the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications across a range of professions and look forward to them striking agreements that benefit each of our economies.

 Market Access Barriers

  1. We would welcome similar engagement on a number of other issues which restrict trade between the UK and Canada. For instance, we want to ensure that UK suppliers have fair access to procurement opportunities across Canada and its provinces, and we have submitted questions seeking to clarify some of these processes.

  2. When exporting alcohol to Canada, UK exporters face cost-of-service fees which are applied differently for domestic and foreign suppliers and additional bureaucratic barriers for imported spirits set by provincial liquor boards. Also, UK exports of specialty creams are currently limited to only one importer, who believes that they could import more than the current limit of 60,000 kg per year. So, we hope to see real improvements here.

  3. And most of all, Chair, the UK asks that Canada clarifies how it intends to resize EU and Non-EU reserves of its Cheese Tariff Rate Quota to reflect the UK’s historic cheese exports to Canada, to ensure Canada’s significant and growing consumer demand for UK cheese can be met, and to ensure Canada is compliant with Article XIII of the GATT.

  4. I am sure that the millions of Canadian consumers who are yet to sample Devon clotted cream, Scotch Whisky, and Cornish cheese, would appreciate greater access to these culinary delights, as would the hundreds of thousands of British Citizens living in Canada.


  1. I began by discussing how close the relationship between the UK and Canada is, and I want to conclude on that same note. Chair, the UK admires Canada: for its work within the WTO, for its laudable ambitions on Climate Change, for its pioneering trade and gender policies, for commitment to free and open trade, and for Canada’s respect for democracy. We share historic people to people links, and continue to host a huge number of each other’s citizens, enriching both our cultures.

  2. Indeed, our deep cultural connection will be further reinforced next week, when none other than Shania Twain plays the coveted Legends Slot at the 2024 Glastonbury Festival.

  3. Whatever restrictions we face within our trading relationship, we believe that we can depend upon that closeness. When I look to the past – and, in the words of Celine Dion, it’s all coming back to me – I reflect on the foundation that the UK and Canada have already built together on trade. This is the basis of an even stronger and more open relationship for the future. And to slightly rephrase the words of the great Canadian artist, Neil Young… Canada: keep on rockin’ in the (free) trade world! Thank you Chair.

Published 19 June 2024