Canadian finance minister urges Britain to stay in EU

Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:16pm EDT
 
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By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) - Canada's finance minister urged Britons on Tuesday to vote to stay in the European Union in next week's referendum and warned them that jobs with Canadian firms based in Britain could be at risk if the country left the bloc.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau - who was in London for meetings at the British finance ministry - said Britons who want to leave the EU, and would prefer something similar to Canada's more limited trade relationship with the bloc, were mistaken.

"The UK already has a better agreement with the European Union today," he told Reuters in a room in Canada's embassy overlooking London's Trafalgar Square.

"We see ... Great Britain staying in the European Union as the best outcome - the best outcome for Canada, the best outcome for the United Kingdom and the best outcome for the world economy," he said.

When he last visited London in April, Morneau declined to comment on the June 23 vote on EU membership, but since then other foreign leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama have urged Britain to stay in and in recent days opinion polls have put the "Out" campaign in the lead.

A trade deal between Canada and the EU is due to take effect next year. Morneau said it would be weaker without Britain and that many Canadian businesses had invested in Britain to obtain direct access to markets across the 28-nation bloc.

"For those tens of thousands of employees in those businesses, we can only say that (leaving the EU) puts them in a more vulnerable position."

Morneau did not mention by name any Canadian companies with investments in Britain but they include firms such as engineering group Bombardier and banks such as RBC and Scotiabank.   Continued...

 
Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie - RTX2F1OC