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Australia trade deal could SCUPPER future agreements – expert issues warning to Liz Truss

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Australia trade deal a 'practice run' for UK says expert

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison confirmed the historic agreement had been reached this morning in London. Mr Johnson hailed a “new dawn in the UK’s relationship with Australia” as expensive tariffs were slashed on certain goods and travel was made easier between the two nations.

Mr Morrison described the agreement as the “most comprehensive and ambitious agreement that Australia has concluded”.

The full details are yet to be published in full, and Professor Mark Melatos from the University of Sydney’s school of economics, has suggested the UK may have set a bad precedent for future agreements.

Professor Melatos stressed the significance of the deal, however he highlighted if the UK has made concessions it could “create negotiating difficulties down the track”

He said: “Politically, the UK needed to demonstrate that it could conclude bilateral trade agreements post-Brexit, albeit with a very close friend in Australia.

“Concluding the first agreement is also useful because it may encourage other trading partners to come forward and start negotiating since they now will have some visibility as to what kinds of concessions can be expected from the UK post-Brexit.

“On the other hand, this deal sets a precedent for later, likely more complicated, deals the UK negotiates.

“Any concessions granted now to Australia will form a baseline for the start of future negotiations with the US or the EU.”

The UK-Australia free trade deal will remove tariffs of up to five percent on Scotch Whisky and for car manufacturers, Downing Street said.

Tariffs will be removed and customs procedures will be simplified on machinery and manufacturing goods, which made up 90 percent of exports from Northern Ireland to Australia.

A cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, while other “safeguards” will be brought in to protect British farmers.

Number 10 added Britons under the age of 35 will now be able to travel and work in Australia more freely.

Liz Truss says the trade deal struck between the UK and Australia demonstrates what Brexit Britain can accomplish as a “sovereign trading nation”.

The International Trade Secretary added it “paves the way” for the UK to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a £9trillion free trade area made up of 11-nations, including Australia, Canada and Japan.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove downplayed any chance of the UK being hamstrung in future negotiations with different countries.

He stressed talks down the line will be “bespoke” and “appropriate to particular circumstances”.

Mr Gove also hailed the remarkable work of the International Trade Secretary and described her as a “shrewd and effective negotiator”.


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He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Anyone who knows Liz knows that she’s not going to roll over when another country says: ‘We want this particular concession or we want that particular arrangement just because you gave it to someone else’.

“She’s going to say: ‘Look, I’m going to decide what’s best for Britain’.

“She is a tough, principled, shrewd and effective negotiator. I don’t think anyone would mistake Liz for a patsy.

“And so other countries shouldn’t imagine that in the negotiation of trade deals we will be anything other than determined to get the best deal for Britain’s producers, and also for UK consumers as well, because one of the things about trade deals is that overall they should reduce the costs that consumers face.”
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