Australia's latest prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said the country is eager to negotiate a free trade deal with Britain after it leaves the European Union, leading the new UK Prime Minister Theresa May to say the offer showed Brexit could work in the UK's benefit. May's Australian counterpart told her in a phone call on 16 July that he was willing to open up trade relations between the allies as soon as possible.
"I have been very clear that this government will make a success of our exit from the European Union. One of the ways we will do this is by embracing the opportunities to strike free trade deals with our partners across the globe," May said. "It is very encouraging that one of our closest international partners is already seeking to establish just such a deal. This shows that we can make Brexit work for Britain."
Turnbull discussed the conversation as "constructive" adding that the trade ministers of the two countries would be in touch for further discussion on a possible deal as there was a need to "get moving on that quickly", The Guardian reported. However, EU rules prevent Britain from making new trade arrangements with ther countries and economic blocs until it officially leaves the 28-nations bloc.
And Australia is not the only country ready to negotiate with the UK, according to the new international trade secretary, Liam Fox.
Fox told the Sunday Times that he was "scoping about a dozen free-trade deals outside the EU to be ready for when we leave".
"We can make Britain a beacon for open trade," he said. "We've already had a number of countries saying we'd love to do a trade deal with the world's fifth-biggest economy without having to deal with the other 27 members of the EU."