Raab visits Australia, southeast Asia and the Pacific for trade talks

Published by Scott Challinor on February 7th 2020, 7:07am

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has travelled to Australia to promote a future trade deal as part of a wider tour which will span southeast Asia and the Pacific.

With UK-EU trade talks set to begin next month, the government is looking to agree early trade deals with nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US.

Raab has previously said that the UK would not look to align with EU rules once the Brexit transition period lapses, due to it limiting scope to strike meaningful trade deals elsewhere.

Trade between the UK and Australia in 2019 was worth £18.3 billion, and Raab said that he saw Australia as a “natural partner” ahead of a scheduled meeting with Australian foreign minister Marisa Payne.

Raab is also set to visit Japan, Singapore and Malaysia over the course of his trade tour.

Speaking of a potential future trade deal with the US in Parliament, international trade secretary Liz Truss has said that the UK’s strategy will be to negotiate wide reductions in tariffs and that any deal will “increase access to the US market for UK businesses and lower prices and increase choice for UK consumers”.

Truss said: "We will drive a hard bargain and, as with all negotiations, we will be prepared to walk away if that is in the national interest.”

She added that the UK would not compromise on standards relating to animal welfare and food, nor budge on the issue of drug prices in any deal.

On Thursday, the government also announced plans for a new UK Global Tariff which will replace the EU Common External Tariff which currently applies to UK imports from countries where no other trading arrangements are in place.

The new tariff could look to simplify or even abolish tax on goods which have limited to no domestic production.

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
February 7th 2020, 7:07am

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