Australia Ready on ‘Brexit Day One’ to Begin Work on New UK Trade Deal

This photo taken on December 16, 2011 shows a container ship sitting berthed in Fremantle Harbour near Perth. Australia's mining-powered economy grew 0.6 percent in the three months to June, slightly below forecasts, and 3.7 percent from a year earlier, weighed by China's slowdown and European woes. Consumer spending was …

Australia wants to begin negotiating a new trade deal with the UK on “day one” of Brexit next year and put it into effect on January 1, 2021.

Australia’s Trade Minister Steve Ciobo gave that assurance during a speech delivered in London as he called for Britain to start formal trade talks with Australia on March 30, 2019 — the same day Brexit officially starts.

Mr. Ciabo paid tribute to the enduring bonds between Australia and the UK while applauding the fact that Brexit would enable the UK to do business as a “sovereign, open and free” nation.

“The Australia-UK trading relationship took a big hit when the UK joined the European Community — especially our agricultural exports,” the trade chief said.

“So it will come as no surprise that Australia is determined to ensure that our limited access to the EU and UK markets is not further diminished as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

“Australia is moving surely down our path to a formal launch of negotiations for our own free trade agreement with the EU.

“Even so, I believe that Australia and the UK should prepare now, with a sense of urgency, to negotiate as soon as possible a high quality and ambitious trade agreement of our own.”

Mr. Ciabo said the aim of the bilateral relationship was to grow trade investment between the two countries, and there was more clarity with the UK and EU agreeing on the transition period for Brexit.

He emphasised the need to “commence negotiations basics on day one of the commencement of the interim period to the view of having a high-quality trade agreement ready to go essentially on January 1, 2021” so that there would be a seamless transition to trade with a UK outside the EU.

The trade minister wants Australia to play a big role in the UK’s economic world as Brexit opens up global free trade opportunities.

To that end, he committed Australia to joining Britain in helping developing nations, particularly those in Southeast Asia, construct infrastructure and flourish.

“So bring on prosperous, free-trading, global Britain,” he said.

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