“Sooner not later” is the mantra for Australia as it seeks to trade with the UK in a post-Brexit world, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he wants a deal done within weeks of Britain exiting EU trade restrictions.
Morrison told the Australian newspaper he called new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday to congratulate him and “wish him every success for the big challenges he now faces ahead.”
He added, “U.K. and Australia have the best of relationships and I have no doubt that Boris and I will be able to take this to a new level in the post-Brexit era.”
The Australian leader’s push for closer trade ties with the UK came within hours of U.S. President Donald Trump revealing his administration is already working on a trans-Atlantic trade deal which he predicts will boost British-American trade by three, four, perhaps even five times.
While Morrison pointed out the U.K. is “technically … not able to negotiate new trade agreements with other countries until they actually terminate their customs union with the EU,” he said Australia is ready to move “as swiftly as we can” to agree a deal after Brexit.
Morrison has already indicated he looks forward to working with Boris Johnson:
Congratulations to @BorisJohnson on his election as Leader of the Conservative Party in the UK. I look forward to working with him and catching up at the G7 next month.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) July 23, 2019
As to the future, Morrison believes it starts now.
“We already put in place a trade working group between Australia and the U.K. to explore possibilities,” the prime minister said. “And that will put us in a position where, if the U.K. wanted to get the deal done in a period of months, maybe even weeks, well, we would be willing to move as swiftly as they were able to.”
Australian farmers would be among the biggest winners from such a deal, while the services sector would also stand to gain, the newspaper quoted the Australian leader as saying.
Canberra’s trade minister, Simon Birmingham, said this week Australia could help the UK to get a deal that would guarantee the free flow of agricultural and business products between the UK and Australia.
The UK is Australia’s eighth-largest trading partner and the two-way trade has been valued at £15billion.