Thursday 6 February 2020 12:01 am

Raab aims to negotiate early free trade deal with Australia

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab arrives in Canberra today and is aiming to discuss the potential for an early trade deal between the UK and Australia.

Raab will hold talks with Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne to discuss future trade and investment opportunities as well as an early trade deal.

Trade between the two countries last year was worth £18.3bn.

Speaking ahead of his visit, the foreign secretary said: “Australia is a natural partner and we are ready to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal.”

“We have a multi-billion pound trade relationship with investment in both directions supporting jobs and growth in both economies. The scope for win-win is huge.”

Sign up to City A.M.’s Midday Update newsletter, delivered to your inbox every lunchtime

The foreign secretary is visiting Australia as part of a four-country visit to the Asia-Pacific region and will also travel to Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

Raab and his Australian counterpart are also expected to discuss how the UK can provide assistance in the response to the bushfire crisis. A team of UK experts visited the country last month to assess how the UK can best contribute.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Australia’s minister for trade, tourism and investment Simon Birmingham are also due to meet Raab during his visit.

Earlier this week, Raab made a statement to the House of Commons on the government’s plans for ‘Global Britain’.

He said the government would seek a free trade agreement similar to the one recently agreed between the EU and Canda or continue to trade with the EU in a manner similar to Australia. He added that the UK would look for deals with countries such as the US.