'As soon as possible': May says Australia-UK trade deal is priority

Marsha Scott
July 11, 2017

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled the new facility Sunday that will operate as "Hughes House" in honor of Rear Adm. Oscar Hughes, who served as director of the Collins Submarine Project.

"This is no place for set and forget", he said.

The Prime Minister said International Trade Secretary Liam Fox would visit Australia in the "coming months" as part of ongoing talks.

Mr Turnbull said Australia and Britain forged a close bond, and vowed the two countries would continue to work together to fight terrorism.

After a brief chat, he said: "Thank you so much for everything you have done".

'They were very courageous men, very fearless men and women and I just want to thank them on behalf of all Australians.

The UK can not legally negotiate trade agreements until after exiting the European Union but Mr Turnbull wants to move as quickly as possible when that happens.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, a leading supporter of the campaign group Open Britain, said: "A free trade deal with Australia would be good news, but with it accounting for just 1.4% of our exports, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the European Union market on our doorstep which accounts for half our trade".

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They talked about better ways to protect crowded places, a big issue for London, and the challenges of cyber-terrorism and encryption, which was a focus of talks at the G20 summit in Hamburg.

The attackers killed two young Australian women - South Australian nurse Kirsty Boden and Queenslander Sara Zelenak.

"I want to be very clear about this, we are absolutely signed up for free trade and open markets - it is the key to the continued run of economic success".

Although the United Kingdom can not negotiate trade deals with other countries until after Brexit, Australia is one of the countries with which Whitehall officials have set up a working party to look at the issues involved.

Mrs May said: "I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Turnbull and the Australian people for the solidarity and support they have shown the UK".

The UK Government has championed a role for Australia in post-Brexit Britain, hailing the "opportunity" it could bring to both countries.

Mr Turnbull became emotional as he spoke about meeting police officers who had attempted to save Australian victim Sara Zelenak, saying he had found it hard not to "burst into tears" as they recounted what happened.

"We took the name "Liberal" because we were determined to be a progressive party, willing to make experiments, in no sense reactionary but believing in the individual, his right and his enterprise, and rejecting the socialist panacea", Mr Turnbull plans to say.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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