UK-Australia free trade deal will bring countries 'closer than ever', Boris Johnson says

Liz Truss said the UK is strengthening ties with countries around the globe Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Boris Johnson has said a free trade deal between the UK and Australia will bring the two countries “closer together than ever before”.

In a video posted on Twitter, the Prime Minister hailed the common values held by the respective nations and boasted of the benefits of a trade agreement.

He said: “We export all kinds of things, including - I was amazed to discover - boomerangs, made in the UK, exported to Australia.

"I don’t think they come back but we send them to Australia.”

He added: “I want a world in which we send you Marmite, you send us Vegemite.

"We send you Penguins, and you send us, with reduced tariffs, these wonderful Arnott’s Tim Tams.

“How long can the British people be deprived of the opportunity to have Arnott’s Tim Tams at a reasonable price?”

He concluded: “There is a huge amount that we can do, whether it’s on financial services of across all the sectors of our free trade agreement…

"Let’s get this free trade agreement done.

"Australia and the UK coming closer together than ever before.”

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand would allow Britain to “make good on the promise of Brexit”.

Publishing the UK’s negotiating objectives, Ms Truss said pivoting towards the Asia-Pacific region would diversify trade and increase the resilience of UK supply chains.

The government hopes trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand will aid the coronavirus recovery by opening up new markets for businesses and creating jobs.

Analysis by the UK suggests the value of UK exports to New Zealand and Australia could increase by £1 billion as a result of trade deals.

Drinks companies, the automotive industry and professional services firms – as well as small and medium-sized businesses – are expected to benefit from a trade deal.

The agreements are also set to include chapters on digital trade.

Britain is seeking to sign trade deals which can come into force after December 31, when the Brexit transition period ends.

Talks with the EU, US and Japan are ongoing.

Liz Truss says trade deals with Australia and New Zealand will help the UK 'make good' on Brexit. Credit: PA

The first round of trade talks between the UK, Australia and New Zealand is expected to begin – via video conference – in the coming weeks.

Ms Truss said: “Our new-found status as an independent trading nation will enable us to strengthen ties with countries around the world.

“Ambitious, wide-ranging free trade agreements with old friends like Australia and New Zealand are a powerful way for us to do that and make good on the promise of Brexit.

“Pivoting towards the Asia-Pacific will diversify our trade, increase the resilience of our supply chains and ensure the UK is less vulnerable to political and economic shocks in certain parts of the world.”

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, said new trade opportunities and an emphasis on digital trade to boost business would be welcomed by British industry.

“The emphasis on helping the UK’s smaller businesses access the opportunities of international trade, particularly in liberalising access for UK manufacturing services, will be good news for some of our most innovative companies, which sometimes struggle to navigate the intricacies of breaking into new markets,” he said.

“Business looks forward to being directly and closely involved in the ongoing programme of trade negotiations to ensure the best possible outcomes.”

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry said: “The UK is embarking on an ambitious new era of independent trade and these new deals are critical to the success of small businesses as well as the wider economy.

“Of the small businesses that export, 38% already do so with Australia while 30% are trading with New Zealand, which highlights the potential to build on these existing strong trading links via trade deals with both countries.

“A comprehensive small business chapter is equally important to ensure that the needs of SMEs are fully catered for in the years to come.”