Sources close to the Australian and British governments have confirmed that post-Brexit immigration and trade talks between the two nations are on course, with mutually agreed outlooks for when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Before the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016, the Australian government’s preference was for a “Remain” vote, allowing the UK to stay within the European Common Market.
However, when the historic “Leave” vote was confirmed, Australia was the first country to set up a Trade Working Group to discuss, negotiate and confirm a future trade deal. They even offered to lend trade experts to the UK as a way of assisting preparations for Brexit.
As such, it is no coincidence that the Liberal-National coalition government in Canberra, and the Conservative government in London, see eye-to-eye on the best avenue for trade and immigration deals once the UK leaves the European Union. Alexander Downer, Australian High Commissioner to the UK, has already confirmed that Australia is keen to begin formal negotiations as soon as possible, and in benefit to CANZUK International’s campaign, has also advocated greater visa access and freer movement with any pending trade deal between the two countries.
Events since June have also reinforced the desire for the two Commonwealth nations to reach a deal. The Trump administration’s scrapping of the prospective Trans-Pacific Partnership was a blow for Australian commerce, and the danger of a rising tide of global protectionism make a compelling case for a UK-Australian free-trade agreement.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is expected to invoke Article 50 in March 2017, officially announcing intentions for the UK to withdraw from membership of the European Union. When that date comes, it will be a hectic two years for the UK for negotiate as many trade deals as possible to ensure it remains as a leading global economic player within the international community.
However, as the Australian and British governments repeatedly demonstrate unity moving forward with post-Brexit negotiations, it is clear that a trade agreement will soon be drafted between these two nations, and greater visa access for each others’ citizens will soon follow.
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