LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and Australia have agreed the vast majority of a free trade deal during talks in London this week and will look to reach full agreement in principle by June, a joint statement said on Friday.
“The UK and Australia have today reached consensus on the vast majority of elements of a comprehensive free trade agreement,” the statement said.
“Both countries are confident that the remaining issues will be resolved, and will now enter a sprint to agree the outstanding details with the aim of reaching agreement in principle by June.”
Britain is pursuing a deal with Australia as one of the pillars of its post-Brexit strategy to build stronger commercial and diplomatic links in the Indo-Pacific region. Official estimates say it could add 500 million pounds ($692 million) to British economic output over the long term.
British trade minister Liz Truss and her Australian counterpart Dan Tehan met in person for talks on Thursday and Friday.
“We have made major breakthroughs over the past few days and an agreement is now in sight,” Truss said. “I want to thank Dan personally for the contribution he has made and for his desire to get this deal done.”
(Reporting by William James, Editing by Paul Sandle and Sarah Young)