(Adds quote from finance minister, background)
SHERBROOKE, Quebec, Jan 16 (Reuters) - The uncertainty over whether the United Kingdom will leave the European Union is not a direct problem for Canada but will hit the global economy, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Wednesday.
Morneau, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Cabinet retreat, sidestepped questions about whether Canada would seek to negotiate a free trade treaty with Britain if it left the 28-nation EU.
Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote in the British parliament on Wednesday and then appealed to lawmakers from across the political divide to come together to try to break the impasse on a Brexit divorce agreement.
“We don’t see this as something that is directly problematic for the Canadian economy but obviously it’s something that it is difficult for the global economy,” Morneau said on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
According to Statistics Canada data, Canada sends around just three percent of its exports to Britain, part of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations.
“We will continue to be a strong partner of the United Kingdom. Our goal will be to work with them when they get to the point in time when they are able to work with us on contininuing a really strong trading relationship,” said Morneau. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Sandra Maler)