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    Boost for UK government as Australia seeks new trade agreement

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    Australia’s trade minister has announced that Britain and Australia are ideally placed to secure a services-based trade agreement. Liam Fox, the UK trade minister, and Steven Ciobo, his Australian counterpart, have begun preliminary talks to enable them to hit the ground running once Britain formally leaves the European Union. In a boost for the Government’s plans to forge new trading pacts, Mr Ciobo said that the two countries’ common cultural heritage would allow them to come to an arrangement easily. “My starting point, given the maturity of the UK economy, is that we should push for as few barriers to trade as possible and that driving for an outcome of liberalised trade that enables both countries to play to their competitive strengths is going to yield the greatest results,” Mr Ciobo said. “I have indicated as part of my broad outline for us as a service economy — it’s 75 per cent of our GDP — that we have tremendous scope to have a very strong services relationship.” The Prime Minister, Theresa May, mentioned Australia in her speech outlining her Brexit objectives on Tuesday, saying: “We want to get out into the wider world, to trade and do business all around the globe”. However, economists have warned that the “gravity” effect of trade means that deals with geographically closer economies are worth more.

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