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Australia Seeking UK, EU Free Trade Deals

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said his country stands ready to agree a post-Brexit trade treaty with the UK.

Turnbull met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in London on July 10.

During the press conference which followed the meeting, Turnbull said that Australia is ready to enter into a free trade agreement (FTA) as soon as the UK is able to do so. He said he looks forward to "speedily concluding" any such deal.

However, Turnbull also stressed that "at the same time we are looking forward to the early conclusion of a free trade agreement with the European Union."

Turnbull explained that his government believes that "economic prosperity has been demonstrated to be delivered by free trade and open markets." He said Australia "will seek to open up every door to every market that we can."

May told reporters that the UK's trade relationship with Australia is worth "close to GBP14bn (USD18.1bn)." She said that she had made clear to Turnbull "that an ambitious and comprehensive bilateral trade deal with Australia remains a priority for the UK."

Australia was the first country with which the UK established a Trade Working Group following its vote to leave the EU.

May confirmed that her International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, will travel to Australia for talks later this year. The Trade Working Group will hold its next meeting before the end of 2017.

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