UK and Australia commit to FTA negotiations 'as soon as possible' post-Brexit

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Britain and Australia want quick results once they can negotiate an FTA after Brexit, the UK's international trade secretary has said.

The UK and Australia have committed to starting negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) as soon as they can after Brexit is finalised one way or another on October 31st 2019.

International trade secretary Liz Truss has been visiting the Australian city of Canberra this week to meet with senior officials including trade minister Simon Birmingham.

In a statement, she said Australia is one of Britain's highest priorities in terms of trade after the nation leaves the European Union and that she wants to see an "ambitious" deal made to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers for exporters.

"But we cannot afford to wait. Britain is going to be ready to trade after Brexit. That's why I'm so pleased that today we are reaffirming our commitment to launch bilateral free trade agreement negotiations as soon as possible," Ms Truss added.

In the year to March 2019, trade between the two countries was worth £16.6 billion (€18.7 billion), with around 15,000 UK companies currently exporting their goods to Australia.

Ms Truss said millions of small to medium-sized businesses in particular could benefit from an FTA with Australia, as it would reduce regulatory barriers and facilitate open trade.

Last month, the UK government published the results of a consultation it opened into developing a negotiating strategy for the development of a post-Brexit FTA with Australia. 

It took into account more than 146,000 public opinions on everything from tariffs to origin calculation in the hope that swift progress can be made on creating a deal once Britain leaves the EU.

The UK is Australia's eighth-largest trading partner and both governments are keen to ensure that trade can continue uninterrupted after the end of October.

Meanwhile, Australia is drawing up its own strategies and requests so it can also enter into negotiations and come out with a deal that benefits its producers and exporters.