Australia ‘very keen’ on quick trade deal with UK

Australia is “very keen” on a free trade deal with the UK as soon as possible after the country has left the European Union, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday, just days after US President Donald Trump vowed to do a “powerful” trade deal with the UK “very, very quickly”.

At a joint news conference in London with Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr. Turnbull was asked how long it would take to secure a trade deal after Brexit.

“As soon as possible, if we move quickly,” he said. “Australians are fleet of foot, we don’t muck around … we will move as quickly as the UK is able to move.”

May also told the news conference that she wanted “the broadest possible consensus” for Brexit to make sure the deal she negotiates with the EU is the right one for Britain.

Ahead of the Downing Street talks, the Mrs. May and Mr. Turnbull visited Borough Market, the scene of June’s terror attack that resulted in the death of two Australians.

Visiting the scene of the atrocity, Mrs. May and Mr. Turnbull were briefed by police officers and met paramedics who rushed to the aid of victims and survivors. 

The UK and Australia have strong commercial, cultural and security links through the Commonwealth and the “five eyes” intelligence alliance.

Although the UK cannot negotiate trade deals with other countries until after Brexit, Australia is one of the countries with which Whitehall officials have set up a working party to look at the issues involved.

Australia’s keeness on a quick trade deal will come as a major scalp for Mrs. May after calls for her ouster amplified in previous days.  

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