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Australia vows post-Brexit trade with U.K. ‘ASAP’

Reuters

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tour Borough Market in London on Monday.

AFP-Jiji LONDON (AFP-Jiji) — Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in London on Monday that he wanted to sign a trade deal with Britain immediately after Brexit — while adding that an EU agreement comes first.

“We move quickly — Australians are fleet of foot, we don’t muck around,” he said after talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street.

“We’ll move as soon as Britain is lawfully able to enter into a free trade agreement.

“But we are very keen, we’re working very fast and hard to get a free trade agreement with the EU ... we’d like to get moving on that and get it done before Britain actually leaves the EU.”

Turnbull, who was at Oxford University at the same time as May and her husband Philip, hailed the embattled British leader’s vision, saying it was “filled with optimism.”

“Your post-Brexit Britain will be a Britain with big horizons, big opportunities, free trade, open markets ... that is the future, that is where our prosperity has been delivered and I know that is where your prosperity in the future will come,” he said.

May, who has been struggling to reassert her authority since a disastrous snap election last month, said she would support an EU-Australia trade deal for as long as Britain remained in the 28-nation bloc.

She also revealed that her international trade secretary, Liam Fox, would visit Australia “in the coming months” for talks on boosting bilateral trade currently worth up to £14 billion ($18 billion). May and Turnbull earlier visited the scene of the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, where eight people — including two Australians — were killed in a van and knife rampage on June 3.Speech

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