The UK has been told it will have to wait at least three years for a trade deal with Australia after the county’s minister said an agreement won’t be made until after the UK leaves the European Union.
In a string of disappointing warnings regarding the affects Brexit will have on trade deals, the UK has again been pushed to the back of the queue as Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo says a deal will be made only when “the time is right”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mr Ciobo said “the timing around what will in many respects be dictated by the UK. The discussions with the EU, the nature of those, the length of them is all yet to be determined.
“My formal advice is that, and this is from the UK side, the UK is unable to negotiate or sign an agreement prior to the formal exit from the EU”.
In a visit to London to discuss a possible deal with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Mr Ciobo said that discussions would certainly begin during his time in the UK.
He added: “Preliminary discussions around what a post-Brexit Australia-UK trade deal might look like. Some discussions about what our ambitions and aspirations are – and there’s been good alignment in terms of those conversations.”
Mr Fox and Mr Ciobo announced in a joint statement that a working group would be created, where officials will meet twice a year to discuss future investments.
“We want the working group to advance an agenda that will ensure the expeditious transition to free trade agreement negotiations when the UK has formally completed its negotiations to exit the EU,” the two men said.
Theresa May was met with a similar message during her time at the G20 summit in China. The prime minister was told by President Barack Obama that the UK would not be a priority for a trade deal and the US would focus on negotiations with the EU.
Mr Obama said: “our first task is making sure we go forward on TTIP negotiations in which we have already invested a lot of time and effort.”