UK Economics

UK and Australian officials to meet THIS WEEK to start informal post-Brexit trade talks

BRITAIN and Australia are expected to begin informal trade talks this week to prepare for when the UK finally leaves the EU, Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison announced.

Theresa May and Malcolm TurnbullGETTY

Australia and the UK officials are expected to meet this week to start informal trade talks

Mr Morrison confirmed the two countries would be working closely together to secure a post-Brexit trade deal.

The 48-year-old said: “As Brexit takes shape, the Australian government will work to maintain and improve the close investment relationship between Australia and the UK.

“Prime Minister May’s comments earlier this week on her Government’s approach to Brexit underscore the UK’s commitment to the benefits of open trade in noting that ‘trade is not a zero sum game: more of it makes us all more prosperous’.”

The European Commission has told Britain it cannot engage in formal trade talks with foreign nations until the UK has left the EU.

Yet Theresa May has claimed the UK can hold preliminary talks with other countries before Britain formally leaves the EU, so that trade deals can be signed-off as soon as the UK formally leaves the bloc.

Despite Article 50 expected to be triggered in March this year, the UK is not expected to have finally left the clutches of EU bureaucracy until 2019.

It comes as Liam Fox announced that informal trade talks had begun with 12 different nations from around the world – one of which is believed to be Australia.

Mr Morrison added in his statement that despite the “growing international anti-trade sentiment… as trading nations we have both benefited from globalisation”.

Dr Liam FoxGETTY

Liam Fox announced last week the UK was in informal trade talks with 12 different countries

According to the Mr Morrison, Australia’s total trade with the UK was worth £16.4billion in 2015-16, while exports into the UK was worth £7.3billion and imports into the UK worth £9.1billion.

The Australian MP’s remarks come just days after President Trump announced he would be putting “America first” in any trade deals in his inaugural speech.

His remarks have scared free trade advocates, who are frightful that the Republican could plunge the US and the rest of the world back into protectionist trade policies.

Mrs May is rumoured to be meeting with the US President in Washington next week.

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