Leaving the EU Single Market doesn’t necessarily mean disaster for EU-UK trade. A number of non-EU countries have secured trade relationships with the EU that work well for both parties. But only one – the Canada model – aligns with all the UK’s conditions for leaving the EU.
Source: European Commission, Based on slide presented by Michel Barnier, European Commission Chief Negotiator, to the Heads of State and Government at the European Council (Article 50) on 15 December 2017
As the country that meets all of the UK's post-Brexit 'red lines', Canada's model may provide a template for UK policymakers. But to replicate its success, the UK needs to recognise the years of effort Canada has invested in terms of both securing trade agreements and building its global trade infrastructure.
If the UK government holds firm on its ‘red lines’ for leaving the EU, it will have to leave both the single market and the Customs Union. If this happens, an ambitious trade policy based on comprehensive Free Trade Agreements with a wide range of trading partners may be a viable way to assure resilience of UK trade in the future.