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Boris Johnson hails Australia deal in Scott Morrison message
Britain and Australia formally launched trade negotiations this summer, aiming to conclude a comprehensive and ambitious FTA covering goods, services and investment. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and her Australian counterpart Simon Birmingham kicked off the talks via videoconference on June 17. Mr Birmingham indicated that both parties were aiming to conclude an FTA by the end of 2020, but it was a very ambitious timeframe.
The first, second and third rounds have so far been concluded, while the fourth one is set to take place in February.
The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) estimates that an FTA could increase exports to Australia by up to £900million, increase UK GDP by £500million and UK workers’ wages by £400million in the long run.
Australian Liberal Party Senator Eric Abetz has shed light on the numerous opportunities the trade deal will bring in the near future, during an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk.
In particular, the Senator singled out the sectors he believes will flourish.
He said: “In principle, the more free trade there is, the cheaper commodities for the people in both countries will be.
UK heading for post-Brexit revival as deal with Australia to inject millions into economy
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss
“There will be greater opportunities for employment as well.
“And look, our agriculture production will be cheaper than the one in Britain, which means the UK will benefit from cheaper food.”
Senator Abetz noted: “We have just got rid of most tariffs in relations to motor vehicles.
“That might also be an opportunity for UK production…”
According to the Senator, the FTA will also mean easier investment in both countries and with each other.
He added: “Australia is always on the lookout for foreign investment.
“We need it. We had it from day one, and from the UK, which continues to be a very important investor in this country.
“The easier we can make that, the better.
Senator Simon Birmingham
Australian Senator Eric Abetz
“We are countries who trust each other, we have the rule of law and the same legal system.”
When asked whether the deal will be struck before the end of 2021, Senator Abetz said: “I would like to think we could do that.
“Now that the UK has been able to throw off the shackles of EU restrictions, it should take advantage of the freedom it has.
“I hope it will be achieved quickly.”
An FTA with Australia is not the only partnership Brexit Britain hopes to establish this year.
Ms Truss spent most of 2020 negotiating trade deals with several countries around the world.
In December, agreements came with Canada, Kenya, Singapore, Vietnam, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, to make a combined total of over 50 such deals, including Japan, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam and Switzerland.
As Ms Truss said, though, some of these agreements were “part of a much wider strategic investment for the UK”, taking Britain a step closer to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a regional trade deal.
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Trade expert Shanker Singham
UK trade deals
The CPTPP is a high-quality free trade agreement which binds together Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, Chile and Brunei.
It covers nearly 14 percent of the global economy.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Government adviser Shanker Singham claimed Britain will send its accession letter within months.
Mr Singham, the CEO of economic consultancy Competere, said: “The UK will certainly join.
“We expect to have our accession letter very shortly with the New Zealand depositary.”
When asked when exactly that will be, Mr Singham said: “As soon as it can be done.
“I am thinking very early 2021.
“But that’s the letter, which is the first step of the process.”