UK and Australia establish new trade working group

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The UK and Australia have established a new trade working group to lay out the groundwork for a future free trade agreement between the nations.

The UK Department for International Trade has announced the formation of a new bilateral trade working group with Australia.

The aim of this group will be to investigate the parameters of a future comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) between the two nations following the UK's departure from the European Union.

With the overall goal of generating new trade and investment opportunities, the group's activities will prioritize consultation and outreach to key stakeholders to seek their input, with the entity itself to be convened at a senior official level.

Other key aspects of its agenda include trade policy issues of mutual interest such as World Trade Organization processes and current and prospective plurilateral negotiations.

Ministers from the UK and Australia have agreed to meet twice annually to review progress in the working group, with the first such meeting to take place in early 2017 in Australia, preceded by discussions later this year during a planned visit to the nation by British trade policy minister Lord Price.

The statement said: "This initiative reflects a strong political commitment by Australia and the UK to take a leadership role in advocating for global trade liberalization and reform."