The Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo has said that the Commonwealth country remains “absolutely committed” to a comprehensive and high quality free trade agreement with the UK.
Mr Ciobo, who is here to meet with the Trade Secretary Liam Fox, told Australian radio that he understands that extracting the UK from the EU is the Government’s “focus and priority” at the moment but that his Government would be waiting in line to deal with the UK once it has left the EU.
— Steven Ciobo (@StevenCiobo) July 17, 2018
His sentiment has been echoed by Liam Fox who said yesterday that the UK is aiming to prioritise trade deals with Australia, New Zealand and the United States. It’s believed that officials are aiming to have trade deals with Australia and New Zealand signed and ready to implement the day after the Brexit transition period ends on January 1 2021.
The US is looking to be much harder however, with suggestions that the current Chequers plan is not palatable to the US because it leaves the UK tied to EU rules and regulations. This plan would make trade arrangements on agricultural products with the US difficult given the difference in rules between the EU and the US and the noted inflexibility of the EU.
As @liamfox announces the UK’s intention to seek future free trade agreements, Australian Trade Minister @stevenciobo discusses the future of 🇬🇧-🇦🇺 trade relations. @Austrade 👇 pic.twitter.com/UFow56L4lx
— Department for International Trade (@tradegovuk) July 18, 2018
It’s been suggested too that a trade deal with Australia too, may have to exclude major agricultural products and focus on services, adding to concerns about the Chequers plan.
Nevertheless, the commitment by the Australian Government will send positive signals through Whitehall and will ensure that Britain can prepare to be more outward-looking when it leaves the EU.