Demise of trade deal between U.S., Britain could benefit Australia: trade minister

Demise of trade deal between U.S., Britain could benefit Australia: trade minister

CANBERRA, July 14 (Rahnuma) — The possible collapse of trade between the United States and Britain could benefit Australia, said Australian government, local media reported Saturday.

Steven Ciobo, Australia’s minister for trade, tourism and investment, suggested that Australian exporters would reap the rewards if the United States killed off a trade deal with the Britain as declared by U.S. President Donald Trump earlier in July.

During a visit to Britain, Trump told local press that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s “soft Brexit” plan would “kill” any potential trade deal between the countries.

Ciobo on Saturday agreed with assessments that Trump’s declaration weakened Britain’s trade position and gave Australian businesses exporting to Britain a market advantage.

“Clearly, if Australia has a comprehensive high quality Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the UK, that gives Australian exporters a market advantage over those that don’t have a comprehensive FTA with the UK post Brexit,” he told News Corp Australia on Saturday.

Ciobo said that while Australia would continue to pursue a free trade agreement with Britain, it was possible that a future Brexit agreement could rule out the deal.

“Australia will seek a high-quality comprehensive FTA with the UK assuming that Brexit provides for that outcome — it will either do that or it won’t,” he said.

“Let’s see what the final composition of the deal is like. Anything ahead of that is speculation.”

Giovanni Di Lieto, a trade expert from Monash University, agreed that Trump’s comments were good news for Australia.

“(This) weakens the UK position even further, and plays in(to) Australia’s hands as well. Because we are not so big, we can play with a historically optimal bargaining position with the UK,” he said.

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