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Britain eyes early free trade pact with Australia after leaving EU

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Britain eyes early free trade pact with Australia after leaving EU

By Colin Packham, Kate Holton

 

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Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab poses for photographs ahead of a bilateral meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, February 6, 2020. AAP Image/Lukas Coch/via REUTERS

 

SYDNEY/LONDON (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab hopes a free trade deal with Australia will be one of the first such pacts to be secured, now that Britain has left the European Union, he said on Thursday.

 

After formally leaving the EU on Jan. 31, Britain entered a transition period that allows it to negotiate future ties with Brussels and begin talks with other major economies, such as the United States and Japan.

 

“We have a trade relationship already worth 17 billion pounds, but we have the potential to do so much more,” Raab told reporters in the Australian capital of Canberra. The figure is equivalent to $22 billion (£16.9 billion).

 

“Australia hopefully will be part of that first wave of high priority deals that we are pursuing,” added Raab, speaking after he met Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

 

Neither Raab nor Payne gave any timetable for the start of free trade talks.

 

Australia is in the midst of talks with the EU for a trade deal, but Payne said the talks with Brussels would not slow the progress of a British deal.

 

Although Australia has strong ties with Britain as a former colony, the trading relationship has waned significantly over the last 50 years.

 

Britain now takes just 3% of Australia’s exports, while China takes nearly 40%. Britain’s entry into the Common Market in 1973 was widely considered a betrayal in Australia, upending decades of tradition and a host of tariff deals.

 

Supporters of Britain’s exit have argued, however, that “family ties” with Commonwealth members, such as Australia, could compensate for the partial loss of Europe’s 444 million customers.

 

During his two-day visit to Australia, Raab will also meet Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.

 

Talks are expected to focus on trade, but Britain’s decision to allot a limited role for Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in building its 5G network could also be discussed.

 

The world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with the Chinese government and accusations of enabling state espionage, with the United States urging allies not to use its technology.

 

Although no evidence has been produced publicly and Huawei has denied the claims, the accusations have prompted several Western countries, including Australia, to curb the firm’s access to their markets.

 

In January, Britain said high-risk vendors would be excluded from the sensitive core of networks, and there would a 35% cap on their involvement in the non-sensitive parts.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-06
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8 minutes ago, Logosone said:

Britain now takes just 3% of Australia’s exports, while China takes nearly 40%. Britain’s entry into the Common Market in 1973 was widely considered a betrayal in Australia, upending decades of tradition and a host of tariff 

 

Interesting.

Karma comes to mind! 

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19 minutes ago, samran said:

Karma comes to mind! 

Yeah, looks like it (& note the correct flag in the background; Your Govt know the difference although you routinely seem to struggle...🤨

 

Edited by evadgib
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I can think of several products/commodities that Australia would want to export to the UK under a preferential tariff deal - but what UK products would be interesting for Australia? Keep in mind that products must be originating in the UK, or they won’t even qualify. So incorporating/using materials/components from the EU might mean non-elegibilty.

 

Edited by damascase
Typo
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38 minutes ago, Logosone said:

Britain now takes just 3% of Australia’s exports, while China takes nearly 40%. Britain’s entry into the Common Market in 1973 was widely considered a betrayal in Australia, upending decades of tradition and a host of tariff 

 

Interesting.

 

 

I suggest you go and look at the figures again..... especially wine!

 

 

Table 2.1:  Key Australian agricultural, fisheries and forest exports to the UK by value - 2015
Commodity
Australian Exports to the UK $m
UK Share of Australian Exports to the EU-28
Australian Exports to the EU-28 $m
UK Share of Australian Exports to the world
Australian Exports to the World $m
Wine
384.4
64 per cent
597.0
18 per cent
2,168.0
Beef and veal
120.5
40 per cent
302.5
1 per cent
9,296.4
Sheepmeat
100.8
72 per cent
140.3
4 per cent
2,525.3
Almonds
16.4
5 per cent
302.0
2 per cent
745.3
Wool a
12.8
4 per cent
303.6
<1 per cent
2,906.5
Plant extract b
11.7
26 per cent
45.8
5 per cent
234.4
Chickpeas
11.6
94 per cent
12.3
1 per cent
1,004.3
Offal c
4.4
79 per cent
5.6
1 per cent
773.3
Apples
2.5
100per cent
2.5
23 per cent
10.7
Other
62.1
5 per cent
1,368.7
<1 per cent
31,075.5
Total
727.2
24 per cent
3,080.3
1 per cent
50,739.7
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