Brexit: Liz Truss says countries 'want to work with' the UK
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London and Canberra have finalised the “landmark” free trade accord which was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 57, and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, 53, back in June. The deal, which was signed at a virtual ceremony on Thursday night, will cut tariffs on imports of wines and even make it easier for Brits to travel Down Under for work.
This is yet another boost for Brexit Britain since it left the EU’s customs union, which prevented the UK from signing its own trade deals.
The new accord, the first to be signed from scratch since the UK severed ties with the European Union, is expected to unlock a whopping £10.4billion in additional trade and boost trade with Australia by 53 percent.
International Trade Secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan, 52, said: “Our UK-Australia trade deal is a landmark moment in the historic and vital relationship between our two Commonwealth nations.
“This agreement is tailored to the UK’s strengths, and delivers for businesses, families, and consumers in every part of the UK – helping us to level up.
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“We will continue to work together in addressing shared challenges in global trade, climate change and technological changes in the years ahead.”
The Leave-supporting Berwick-upon-Tweed MP added: “Today we demonstrate what the UK can achieve as an agile, independent sovereign trading nation.
“This is just the start as we get on the front foot and seize the seismic opportunities that await us on the world stage.”
The deal, which comes just weeks after the UK agreed to another accord with New Zealand, was also welcomed by business leaders.
The president of the Confederation of British Industry and Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria, 60, said the accord “opens new frontiers” and is a “truly comprehensive and modern agreement that plays to Britain’s economic strengths and competitiveness”.
Ex-Labour MP and head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce William Bain, 49, added: “There are opportunities for exporters in a new speedier customs process, zero tariffs on the vast majority of UK exports, improved market access on services, free flow of data and generous provisions on labour mobility for under-35s for up to three years.”
However, some Remain-supporting figures from the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Trade Union Congress have responded to Britain’s Brexit boost by voicing some criticism.
While Labour claims they could support the deal if it holds up to scrutiny, Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, 41, said: “Notable from the outset is that the Government ‘list of benefits’ contains no mention of climate targets or the impact of the removal of import tariffs on UK agriculture.”
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The Liberal Democrats rural affairs spokesman and former party leader Tim Farron, 51, also claimed: “This trade deal fails to protect our farmers in the long term.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, 62, who campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU back in 2016, added the deal “poses a threat to working people while contributing almost nothing to our economy”.
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