Britain’s exit from the European Union booming: Britain could be the “heroes of free trade” as Rap talks about the Australian deal
The Foreign Secretary is in Australia as part of a tour of the country to promote free trade deals during what is turning out to be a crucial year after the UK left the European Union on January 31. Dominic Raab said a close relationship with the Southern Hemisphere superpower is a “key part of the vision” for a “Global Britain”. The former Brexit Secretary wrote in a column for the Australian Financial Review the UK is “forging ahead as a self-confident, global nation, ready to reinvigorate our ties with old friends”.
He also described a “deep relationship” between the UK and Australia and even joked about their sporting rivalry, which sees the two cricketing nations clash in the Ashes at least once every two years.
Mr Raab also outlined why Britain wants to be “energetic champions of free and open trade” following Brexit.
“You can see our deep relationship in the real rapport between our people, our vibrant cultural links, our world-leading educational exchanges, and our (mostly!) friendly sporting rivalry.
“We want to be energetic champions of free and open trade, so we can boost small businesses, cut the cost of living, reduce barriers and create the well-paid jobs of the future for the next generation of Australians and Britons.”
Mr Raab met Australian counterpart Marise Payne on Thursday, describing Australia as ”a natural partner”.
Trade between the UK and Australia was worth a huge £18.3billion in 2019.
Speaking ahead of his trip to Australia, Mr Raab said the UK had “a multi-billion-pound trade relationship with investment in both directions, supporting jobs and growth in both economies”.
Speaking on the BBC’s Politics Live programme in October, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: “I do worry that people are starting to imagine that a trade deal with Australia is somehow a substitute for being on the doorstep of a market with 500 million people. It’s not.”
Mr Raab will also visit Japan, Singapore and Malaysia over the coming days.
The UK is hoping to conclude quick trade deals with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US following its departure from the EU.
But there are now fears a bumper deal between the UK and US is under threat after reports suggested rising tensions between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.