Citizens from some of the UK’s closest global partners will be able to use fast-track airport entry points previously only reserved for European Union citizens, signalling that Britain is moving forward with strengthening old alliances and building new relationships post-Brexit.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond made the announcement in Monday’s budget, saying: “We’ll open the use of e-passport gates at Heathrow and other airports… currently only available to EEA nationals.”
He added that it would communicate “loud and clear to the rest of the world” that Brexit Britain was “open for business”.
Set to come into effect in the summer, visitors from the United States, British Commonwealth realms Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and prospective post-Brexit bilateral trade deal partner Japan will enjoy swifter access at the UK’s borders.
However, CEO of Heathrow John Holland-Kaye said Tuesday the government should consider moving the change to before March, when the country officially leaves the bloc, also saying that it would “demonstrate that Britain is open for business”, according to the Associated Press.
Currently, the quicker e-passport gates are only open to citizen-members of the European Economic Area (the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), and Switzerland.
U.S. Wants ‘Cutting Edge’ Free Trade Agreement with UK After Brexit https://t.co/QUfiQ1SMfT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 17, 2018
The Australian High Commission in London welcomed the news, saying “we’ve been working towards this for some time so it is great to see it announced”.
Former Foreign Minister of Australia Alexander Downer added that it was “another step forward in Aus-UK relations”.
The commercial relationship between the UK and Australia and New Zealand began to drift after Prime Minister Edward Heath took the country into the European Economic Community (the EU as it was then known) in 1973 with Heath agreeing to impose EEC tariffs on its Antipodean war-time allies.
These rifts are on track to be mended after sources said that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was set to have trade deals ready for day one after the UK comes out of the transition period with the EU in 2020 with both Australia and New Zealand.
Canada has also said it wanted a bilateral trade deal with the UK with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hoping it would be an improvement on his country’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the EU.
Breitbart London reported in October that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration wants to agree a “cutting edge” free trade agreement with the UK “as soon as it is ready” after leaving the bloc.