Australian PM Calls for UK Trade Deal: ‘The Vision for Britain Post-Brexit Is One Filled with Optimism’

Brexit has received another boost from Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said Britain will have “big horizons and big opportunities” outside the EU and announced his desire for a quick trade deal.

“We move quickly. Australians are fleet of foot. We don’t muck around. We’re very simple. So we will move as quickly as the UK will move,” he said at a joint conference with Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street.

“We recognise that as Britain moves towards completing its exit from the European Union, we stand ready to enter into a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom as soon as the UK is able to do so.

“So, once Brexit has been achieved, then we look forward to speedily concluding a free trade agreement with Australia … I think we were the first on the phone to offer our support and assistance in that regard,” he said.

“Your vision for Britain, a post-Brexit Britain, is one filled with optimism. It’s not a counsel of despair, as some people have said. I know, Theresa, that you believe passionately that the British people can do anything, can achieve anything, and that your post-Brexit Britain will be a Britain with big horizons, big opportunities, free trade, open markets.

“You’re right; that is the future. That is where our prosperity has been delivered, and I know that is where your prosperity in the future will come,” he concluded.

This comes months after Australian High Commissioner (Ambassador) to the United Kingdom recorded a video for the Daily Politics programme extolling the potential benefits of an Anglo-Australian trade agreement, which would probably have been signed many years ago if EU member-states were not prohibited from carrying out an independent trade policy.

He revealed that Australia approached Britain for a trade deal as soon as the referendum result was in, and “a working group to explore a future ambitious trade agreement once the UK has left the EU” has already been established.

“[Brexit] is not as some people say. We may have preferred the UK remain in the EU, but life outside, as we know, can be pretty good,” he explained.

“We’ve negotiated eight free trade agreements over the last twelve years, including a free trade agreement with the United States which took us fifteen months. This is one of the reasons why the Australian economy has continued to grow over the last twenty-five years, and we, of course, are not in the European Union.”

Prime Minister Turnbull’s intervention comes hot on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that his administration and the British Government “have been working on a trade deal which will be a very, very big deal, a very powerful deal, great for both countries, and I think we will have that done very, very quickly.”

While the EU’s negotiators have been trying to give the impression that the initiative lies entirely with them, cracks in the facade have begun to show, with the Hungarian government warning the bloc that failing to secure a deal with Britain would be a “nightmare scenario”.

“If there’s no deal … we will be in big trouble in Europe, [because] if Britain gets free hands then you will be able to sign free trade agreements with India, with Turkey, with the U.S., with Australia,” explained Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.

“So, if this is the case, then it will harm [Europe’s] competitiveness,” he said.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery


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