Former Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, has proposed a comprehensive free-trade deal between Australia and the UK to be negotiated immediately and come into force on the day Britain formally leaves the EU.
At a high profile business breakfast last week, Abbott stated: “There should be no tariffs or quotas whatsoever on any goods traded between our two countries — there should be no exceptions, no carve-outs, nothing”.
He went on to further propose “full recognition of each country’s credentials and standards”.
The objective, Abbott said, should be “an entirely seamless economic relationship based on free entry of goods, mutual recognition of services and standards, and easy entry of qualified people”.
“If a motor car could be registered in the UK, it should be registrable in Australia; if a trade qualification was recognised in Australia, it should be recognised here”.
Abbott also hailed Brexit as the British people taking back their country, and stated that any British Australia free-trade agreement shouldn’t wait on a broader European deal. Such an agreement could also be a template for the kinds of free-trade agreements that the UK could easily do with Canada and New Zealand.
“Because Australia and Britain are like-minded countries with similar systems and comparable standards of living, there should be no need for tortuous negotiation and labyrinthine detail. Britons and Australians already have more than 200 years’ experience of each other, so why not allow them more freely to travel and work in each other’s country, provided no one’s bludging,” he said.
Brexit negotiations are already underway, and with Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, also advocating working rights for Australians in the UK, freer movement for citizens within the CANZUK countries is likely to progress significantly over the coming months in time for the UK’s departure from the European Union.
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