UK sets up new trade group with India to prepare for future deal following Brexit

Caitlin Morrison
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Trade minister Liam Fox said the UK is laying the groundwork to do deals with India (Source: Getty)

Britain has set up a new working group with India to help prepare for possible trade deals after Brexit has completed.

The UK can't agree trade deals with other countries until it has formally exited the EU, a process that could take years.

However, the government has said that won't stop it from preparing for the future.

"There is nothing to stop us having discussions and scoping out future agreements," Fox told parliament.

"We have now concluded a deal to set up a trade working group with India to look at how we will remove barriers to trade before we negotiate a free trade agreement on our exit from the European Union."

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke at last weekend's G20 summit, where he unequivocally committed Australia to striking a "very strong" deal with the UK following the EU referendum.

This was swiftly followed by the news that Fox and his Australian counterpart, Steven Ciobo, had agreed the creation of a bilateral trade working group, with the aim of working towards an "ambitious and comprehensive Australia-UK free trade agreement ... to generate new trade and investment opportunities".

However, Ciobo was quick to dismiss the idea that such a deal would be signed any time soon, and put the ball firmly in the UK's court. "We want to do a deal with the UK when the time is right," he said. "The timing of that will, in many respects, be dictated by the UK."

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