Digital trade a key focus of talks with ‘old friends’ Australia and New Zealand

Written by Eleanor Langford on 18 June 2020 in News
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Government cites importance of ‘pivoting towards Asia-Pacific’

Credit: PA

International trade secretary Liz Truss praised “old friends” Australia and New Zealand as the two countries start post-Brexit trade talks with the UK – with digital trading opportunities picked out as a key area of focus.

Truss said that “pivoting towards the Asia-Pacific” would help “ensure the UK is less vulnerable to political and economic shocks in certain parts of the world”. 

It marks the Cabinet minister's latest set of major trade talks, having already held discussions with Japan and the United States in recent days.

The Department for International Trade said New Zealand and Australia “rank among our closest friends”, adding a free trade agreement with both nations could mean a £1billion increase in UK exports.


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Areas of focus include digital trading and SMEs, with both sides hoping to maximise opportunities for businesses to trade digitally and to help small businesses sell goods and services to the Pacific nations for the first time.

Commenting ahead of the talks, 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.”

With the UK confirming it will not extend the Brexit transition period, the country will not be bound to EU trading arrangements from the end of 2020, and the government is racing to get deals done with countries around the world. 

About the author

Eleanor Langford is a reporter for PublicTechnology sister publication PoliticsHome, where this story first appeared. She tweets as @eleanormia.

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