TRADE talks between the UK and Canada have been pulled because of a row over beef and cheese.

The two countries have been negotiating for the past two years in the wake of Brexit, with trade continuing under the same deal brokered when the UK was a member of the EU.

A time-limited agreement allowed the UK to continue to sell cars and cheese without high import taxes.

But talks about extending these as part of a new deal have now broken down.

It marks the first time the UK has formally suspended talks with a trade partner since formally leaving the EU.

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British car companies now face the prospect of higher import charges to sell into the Canadian market from the start of April.

Canada's government had been facing political pressure from domestic cheese producers and had been pushing for the UK to relax a ban on hormone-treated beef, which its producers say effectively shuts them out of the British market.

A spokesperson for Canada's trade minister Mary Ng said she was "disappointed" at the pause in talks and had communicated this to UK Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch.

"Their decision to continue to maintain market access barriers for our agriculture industry and unwillingness to reach a mutual agreement has only stalled negotiations," the spokesperson added.

"The UK is a long-standing trading partner and I am confident that we can negotiate an agreement that is win-win for Canada and for the UK.

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"But let me be clear – we will not negotiate an agreement that is not good for Canadians – and not good for our Canadian businesses, farmers and workers.”

A spokesperson for the UK Government said it reserved the right to "pause negotiations with any country if progress is not being made".

Total goods trade between the two countries was worth £19.2 billion in 2020, according to the UK Government, with UK imports from Canada worth £7.3bn and UK exports to Canada worth £11.8bn.

The Canadian Cattle Association said it backed its government's "hard-line approach" on beef rules, adding that the UK had "shown no indication that it is prepared to fully accept Canada's food safety system which is widely recognised as one of the finest in the world".