Brits may be able to travel freely to Australia to live and work after Brexit as freedom of movement between the two countries is being looked at in future trade talks.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss met Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and her counterpart Simon Birmingham in the capital Canberra on Wednesday and told a press conference that the two countries had a "special link”.
Asked about freedom of movement being part of future trade talks, Ms Truss said: "It's certainly something we will be looking at as part of our free trade negotiations.”
In Canberra with Trade Minister @Birmo making progress on trade talks. Australia is a priority for a deal.
In leaving the EU we will become more outward looking, more competitive & deepen our links with partners across the world.
We are old friends with new opportunities.🇬🇧🇭🇲 pic.twitter.com/ri4Usj3mnx
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) September 18, 2019
Great to welcome 🇬🇧 Secretary of State for International Trade @trussliz to 🇦🇺 for talks on how we can maximise trade opportunities post-#Brexit, including the negotiation of a comprehensive free trade deal that opens up new opportunities for our farmers & businesses. pic.twitter.com/MnygFLBDki
— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) September 18, 2019
Just asked @Birmo in #senateqt about the prospects for a UK-Australia free trade agreement post Brexit. Great to have @trussliz in Canberra to explore exciting opportunities for closer relations between our countries when they leave the EU pic.twitter.com/kbe1HVGjn1
— James Paterson (@SenPaterson) September 18, 2019
Ms Truss added: "We want a fully comprehensive trade deal that reflects our deep, ongoing relationship, the friendship between our two countries, the fact that Australians want to come and live and work in Britain, and Brits want to come and live and work in Australia.
"Leaving the European Union really does give us a chance as a country to become more outward-looking, to become more competitive, and to deepen our links with our partners right across the world.”
Currently, British citizens require a visa to travel to Australia and while Britons can apply for holiday working visas, they must go through normal channels to emigrate longer-term.
Read more from Yahoo News UK:
Under the Trans-Tasman travel arrangement, there is a common travel area between Australia and New Zealand, meaning citizens from either country are free to travel, live and work in both.
However, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison dismissed the idea of expanding the scheme after a meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 summit in France last month.
Mr Morrison said at the time: "The New Zealand arrangement is quite unique and it's not one we would probably ever contemplate extending.”
He had already signalled his willingness to proceed with trade talks quickly, telling reporters at the recent G7 summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz he believed a deal could be done within a year.
A trade deal could be done in "months rather than years," Ms Truss also said, and negotiations will begin "as soon as possible" after the UK leaves the EU.
On Tuesday, the UK Department for International Trade confirmed that Australia had agreed to begin talks when the UK leaves the EU, currently scheduled for October 31.
Ahead of the visit, Ms Truss said she wanted to see an "ambitious trade deal" which reduces tariffs and barriers for UK exporters.
She added: "A UK-Australia trade deal won't just be a good thing, it'll be a great thing, for our businesses, for our consumers, for our workers and for our two great countries.”
According to the Department for International Trade, the UK's trading relationship with Australia was worth £16.6 billion in the year to March 2019, with around 15,000 UK businesses exporting goods there.