Australia to open trade deal talks with UK ahead of Brexit

Scott Morrison due to meet UK and European counterparts this week in London

Treasurer of Australia Scott Morrison: he said the federal government will look to improve the close relationship between Australia and the UK. Photograph:  Stefan Postles/Getty Images

Treasurer of Australia Scott Morrison: he said the federal government will look to improve the close relationship between Australia and the UK. Photograph: Stefan Postles/Getty Images

 

Australia will open talks in London this week with the United Kingdom over new trade and investment deals ahead of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The treasurer of Australia, Scott Morrison, said despite “growing international anti-trade sentiment” the federal government will look to improve the close relationship between Australia and the UK as Brexit takes shape.

The value of Australia’s trade with the UK was 27 billion Australian dollars (€19 billion) in 2015-16, split between A$12 billion in exports and A$15 billion in imports.

“Discussions during this visit will begin laying the foundations for Australia to strike new beneficial trade and investment arrangements with the UK that benefit our businesses, exporters and citizens,” Mr Morrison said.

British prime minister Theresa May pledged to quit the single EU market last week while retaining the ability to negotiate new trade deals with countries outside the bloc.

Mr Morrison will also hold meetings with financiers on the UK’s affordable housing policies to determine if they are “fit for purpose” in Australia.

Meetings are scheduled with British chancellor Philip Hammond, British housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell and city minister Simon Kirby.

– (Bloomberg)