Australia will aim to conclude a free trade deal with the UK in “record” time following the start of formal talks on Wednesday, according to Simon Birmingham, Australia’s trade minister. The UK is Australia’s seventh-largest trading partner but in reverse Australia accounts for a fraction of the trade the UK is predicted to lose because of Brexit. The EU is by far the UK’s biggest market.
Australia opened formal talks with the EU on a free trade deal in 2018 and is hoping to conclude an agreement within a similar timeframe to a UK deal.
The British government said it hoped the value of exports to Australia would rise by £1bn through an agreement that seeks to liberalise trade for drinks companies, the carmaking sector and professional services. Britain’s trade with Australia was worth £18.1bn in 2019, according to the UK’s Department for International Trade.
Mr Birmingham said a trade deal with the UK would provide Australian businesses with greater market choices at a time when Canberra is embroiled in diplomatic and trade disputes with China, its largest trading partner.
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