Journalist: What is the Brexit deal going to mean for trade relations between Australia and the UK?
Simon Birmingham: Australia welcomes the certainty that the proposal before the UK Parliament would provide for the continued access to markets during the transition period. This will keep trade flowing, which is important for jobs and businesses in both of our countries. We are firmly committed to working with the UK Government to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement encompassing goods, services and investments during the period of transition before the UK exits the EU completely in 2020.
Journalist: How confident are you of being able to negotiate a free trade agreement with the UK under the deal being debated at Westminster?
Simon Birmingham: We have already established a trade working group between Australia and the UK, which will help to ensure that we are both ready to commence negotiations the moment the UK is in a legal position to do so. Our countries have many shared values and common legal systems, which I hope will make negotiations smooth and see high ambitions realised. Our ambition is for Australia and the UK to quickly negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement that could come into force upon the intended 2020 exit of the UK from the EU customs union.
Journalist: What will Brexit mean for Australians travelling to the UK – will it lead to easier travel and working visas in the future?
Simon Birmingham: The post-Brexit immigration policy is yet to be released, however we welcome Prime Minister May’s recent public comments about introducing a non-discriminatory skilled-based policy for the UK, and within that we’d be confident that thousands of Australians would be able to continue to travel to the UK every year whether it before leisure, a gap year after school or a working holiday
Journalist: That’s important, thank you.