Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said he wants to sign a free trade agreement with the UK “as soon as possible” after Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and claimed he will not “muck about” getting it done.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Downing Street with British Prime Minister, Theresa May, Turnbull said his government’s approach is “very simple” and wants to sign an agreement with the UK as soon as possible.
He said: “As Britain moves to completing its exit from the EU, we stand ready to enter into a free trade agreement with the UK as soon as the UK is able to do so.
Theresa May added that a trade deal with Australia was a “priority” for the UK after Brexit, to expand the £14 billion-worth of trade between the two nations:
“We’ve both made clear our intention to continue to deepen our trade and investment relationship as the UK leaves the EU,” she said. “Our Brexit negotiations have started well, and I have made clear to Prime Minister Turnbull that an ambitious and comprehensive bilateral trade deal with Australia remains a priority for the UK.
“Australia was the first country with whom the UK established a trade working group following the vote to leave the EU and we’re keeping up a regular and productive dialogue on the future of our free trading relationship.”
Commitments to establishing free trade between the two nations were soon followed by Prime Minister May revealing that International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, will be visiting Australia in the “coming months” as part of ongoing talks on an agreement.
The Australian Prime Minister said he recognised Mrs May’s vision of Brexit as a chance for Britain to take a new global role with “big horizons and big opportunities”, and said he wanted Australia to be a partner in that drive:
“There are no two nations in the world that trust each other more than the UK and Australia,” he said. “We are family in a historical sense, we are family in a genetical sense. We are so close, and that trust is getting stronger all the time”.
Australia – together with New Zealand – have already declared their intention to be “first in line” for signing a new deal with the UK once Brexit negotiations have concluded, and with special passport arrangements being discussed by senior government officials, freer movement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom is likely to be part of future trade negotiations between the countries.
Join CANZUK International on social media