UK-Australia Trade Deal ‘At Least Three Years Away’

Theresa May has indicated Article 50, the formal process of Brexit, will not be triggered until next year. It would then be a further two years until the UK extracted itself from the EU.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Ciobo said Australia wanted to a do a deal with the UK “when the time is right”.

The timing around that will in many respects be dictated by the UK,” he said. “My formal advice is that, and this is from the UK side, the UK is unable to negotiate or sign an agreement prior to the formal exit from the EU.

“We can certainly have preliminary discussions and that’s part of what I’m doing here this week. Preliminary discussions around what a post-Brexit Australia-UK trade deal might look like. Some discussions about what our ambitions and aspirations are – and there’s been good alignment in terms of those conversations.”

One problem for the UK government in conducting trade negotiations is as it does not have many trade negotiators. As a member of the EU for 40 years, all Britain’s trade deals have been conducted through Brussels.

Ciobo said Australia would be willing to lend the UK some Australian trade negotiators to help. “We are happy to provide whatever support we can,” he said.

“I made the passing quip to Secretary Fox that if we were going to have negotiations with Australia  they would go very smoothly if it was Australians on both sides of the table,” he added.

Article source: