THE UK should set its sights on securing a Brexit deal which delivers more than the recently-secured CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) struck between Canada and the European Union (EU).

The call comes from ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland), which commissioned a report from Canadian experts who were close to the CETA talks to establish whether that deal could provide a blueprint for the Brexit negotiations. It follows comments from top EU negotiator Michel Barnier, who recently warned that the UK should expect little better from its divorce from the EU than CETA, while noting that it will take years to negotiate a deal.

Bruce Cartwright, executive director for policy at ICAS, said: “Our independent report evidences that while CETA is a good baseline, it doesn’t go nearly far enough to represent the right deal for British business.

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“In particular, it comes up short on services, which make up a substantial and valuable part of the UK economy.

“The British negotiating team needs to learn from the Canada experience and deliver a deal which goes considerably beyond CETA.

“We also believe that the evidence laid out in this ICAS commissioned report could be crucial in reducing the length of time it takes to strike a deal by providing pointers to where agreed elements of CETA could be lifted and applied to Brexit.”

Among the shortcomings highlighted by the CETA, Brexit and Beyond report include the fact that Canada still does not have a ratified deal on financial services, with the agreement only providing temporary entry for professional services into Europe. The report also highlights the importance of “negative lists”, which mean that “everything is in unless it is specifically agreed as out”.