Liz Truss says UK will be ‘adding’ to trade deals in 2021
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The International Trade Secretary has held meetings with her Australian counterpart in London to get a deal over the line after months of talks. Ms Truss had been eager to strike an agreement by Easter but talks faltered in recent weeks with disagreements on a few key areas holding up a deal.
This week Australian trade minister Dan Tehan flew to London to help rebuild momentum in negotiations with both sides eager to get the trade deal over the line.
While some differences still remain after the 48 hours of talks, officials say a consensus has been reached between the UK and Australia on the vast majority of elements of the comprehensive free trade agreement.
Praising the progress to date, Ms Truss said: “We have made major breakthroughs over the past few days and an agreement is now in sight.
“I want to thank Dan personally for the contribution he has made and for his desire to get this deal done.
Liz Truss has struck a preliminary trade deal with Australia (Image: NUMBER10)
“This is a deal that will deliver for Britain and all parts of our economy.
“It is a win-win for both nations.
“It is a fundamentally liberalising agreement that will support jobs across the country and help us emerge stronger from the pandemic, strengthening ties between two democracies who share a fierce belief in freedom, enterprise and fair play.
“We will spend the next few weeks ironing out details and resolving outstanding issues, with a view to reaching a deal by June.”
The breakthrough in the crunch negotiations came after talks during Vietnamese dinner on Thursday, with discussions continuing over fish and chips today.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited Australia to join the G7 summit in Cornwall taking place June 11-13, as a close ally of the UK.
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Australian trade minister Dan Tehan flew to London to help rebuild momentum (Image: FLICKR-No10)
Liz Truss has secured a breakthrough in trade talks with Australia (Image: FLICKR-No10)
It is hoped the finalised deal will be signed off at the meeting of world leaders.
Britain is already Canberra’s fifth-largest trading partner, with both sides eager to strike a deal to help boost relations now Britain is outside the EU.
The EU and Australia do not have a free trade agreement in place, with the new deal set to provide a significant increase in trade.
In 2019, trade between the UK and Australia was worth £18.8billion and the trade deal could help increase UK exports to Down Under by up to £900million according to Whitehall officials.
Britain is already Canberra’s fifth largest trading partner (Image: FLICKR-no10)
Liz Truss Truss presented Mr Tehan with Emma Bridgewater mugs and a London Pottery Company tea pot (Image: FLICKR-No10)
Ms Truss presented Mr Tehan with Emma Bridgewater mugs and a London Pottery Company teapot as a gift following the outcome.
Earlier this week an unnamed source close to the International Trade Secretary said Ms Truss intended to be tough in talks.
They said Mr Tehan needed to show Australia meant “action”.
“She plans to sit him down in the Locarno Room [in the Foreign Office] in an uncomfortable chair, so he has to deal with her directly for nine hours,” the source told The Telegraph.
“He is inexperienced compared to Liz.
“He needs to show that he can play at this level.
“Australia need to show us the colour of their money.
“They’re great friends of ours and talk a good game about free trade and wanting a deal, but they need to match those words with action.”