UK launches FTA negotiations with Australia, New Zealand

The UK government has published its negotiating objectives for free trade agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand, with trade talks slated to begin shortly.

The new talks come after the UK and Japan launched trade negotiations last week, also seeking to seal a post-Brexit FTA, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Our new-found status as an independent trading nation will enable us to strengthen ties with countries around the world,” Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss said on Wednesday.

The Department for International Trade said these talks will also act as a logical step towards the UK’s accession to Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

According to the government’s analysis, the value of the UK’s exports to the two countries could increase by around 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion) as a result of the deals.

The UK is speeding up negotiations with its trading partners to secure more new deals after its exit from the European Union (EU) in January.

It has failed to score any breakthrough with the EU in their four rounds of future partnership talks.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday held a video conference with EU chiefs, with both sides calling for a new momentum in the search for an agreement before the end of this year when the Brexit transition period ends.

Last month, the UK launched formal talks with the US on a trade agreement amid the coronavirus pandemic.