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UK, Australia Hold Preliminary Trade Talks on Post-Brexit Deal

UK, Australia Hold Preliminary Trade Talks on Post-Brexit Deal

Prime Minister Theresa May is said to be keeping an "open mind" on how to approach deals on immigration and access to the EU's single market.

Mr Robertson claimed that so far the Government had only come up with "waffle" about the post-Brexit plan.

"A free trade deal with Australia or New Zealand may be beneficial for some United Kingdom industries but could have a catastrophic effect on United Kingdom sheep farmers and we cannot sit back and be sacrificed for the benefit of others". It would then be a further two years until the United Kingdom extracted itself from the EU.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "None of us voted for whatever it is that we might get from the deal arranged and negotiated by David Davis. We will be ensuring that we seize the opportunities for growth and prosperity across the whole United Kingdom, including growth and prosperity in Scotland". It is an historic decision for British people, it will be a complex and challenging process leaving Europe Union.

Both Turnbull and his United Kingdom counterpart, newly-minted Prime Minister Theresa May, referred to discussions they had held over a future free trade arrangement as a natural step, given their shared history.

With or without economic benefits, Australia's strong ties to the United Kingdom will mean that, if nothing else, it will be important to ensure post-Brexit data exchange and privacy arrangements are satisfactory to both countries.

Now Australian minister Steven Ciobo has made it clear during a visit to London that only "preliminary" discussions are possible at this stage.

The UK has not yet activated the treaty clause that triggers a two-year exit process from the European Union, though Mrs May has insisted publicly that "Brexit means Brexit" and the clause will be activated some time in 2017.

Mr Ciobo said that only "preliminary" discussions between Australia and the... "The timing around that will, in many respects, be dictated by the UK, the discussions with the European Union...if Article 50 is presented quarter one or quarter two next year, and then a two-year window in relation to that, so you would expect that it's at least two and a half years off", Ciobo told BBC Radio 4 during his visit to the United Kingdom.

Making trade deals with our Commonwealth partners is a great way to start. "Some discussions about what our ambitions and aspirations are - and there's been good alignment in terms of those conversations".

A bilateral Trade Working Group has been established to work toward the implementation of a comprehensive Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The two ministers said they would meet twice a year to review the working group's progress, with the first meeting in early 2017 in Australia.