Saturday, 24 Oct 2020

Brexit trade bonanza: Australian Senator reveals why CANZUK trade deal is best for Britain

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This week, the Government has challenged previous commitments with the European Union, increasing the odds of a no deal outcome at the end of the transition period. Both sides have said they remain in close contact and are still planning to have another round of trade talks at the end of the month. However, the EU has made it clear that it cannot sign new trade arrangements if the UK violates previous already-legislated commitments. On Monday, MPs cleared the first legal hurdle in implementing the Internal Market Bill — a set of new laws that, if cleared in both chambers, would breach international law.

The EU has asked the UK to amend the Bill as soon as possible and warned that if it fails to do so, it will likely challenge the UK government in court.

Both sides have given themselves until October to put together an agreement that can then be ratified before the end of the year, but analysts are growing increasingly sceptical that this is going to happen.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said no deal would be a good outcome for Britain.

In an exclusive interview with, Australian Liberal Party Senator Eric Abetz backed Mr Johnson’s strategy.

He then argued Brexit Britain should pursue other trade deals rather than remaining stuck in negotiations with the bloc.

Mr Abetz explained: “Very early on, when Brexit was being mooted, I was one of those first in Australia to be promoting the CANZUK proposal of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK becoming a trading and social bloc.

“Those five countries have a very similar heritage.

“The UK has done a great service to the world at large in relation to how it has done its democracy.

“From an absolute monarchy to where we are now.

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“Its traditions and history are fantastic and those traditions and history are embedded in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.”

He added: “Having CANZUK would be a great opportunity for people’s exchanges as well.

“We have such a robust security system. We trust each other. We are able to trust each other’s passports.

“I could not imagine anybody saying I want to be a refugee from the UK and go to Australia or New Zealand or Canada.

“Basically, we have the same standards of living and I don’t think we would be in danger if we had more relaxed people’s movement opportunities.”

Moreover, Senator Abetz argued that the appointment of former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as an official UK trade adviser has the potential for real strengthening of the bonds.

He added: “I understand it has been somewhat controversial by the extreme left in the UK.

“But I would have thought the appointment of Mr Abbott, on a voluntary basis, is another example of the strengthening of ties between the UK and Australia.

“And the mutual benefit of engaging with someone like our former Prime Minister to assist the UK in negotiating free trade and shedding itself from the shackles of the European Union.”

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Earlier this month, Mr Johnson appointed Mr Abbott as an official UK trade adviser, defying widespread condemnation of the former Australian Prime Minister’s record of misogyny and homophobia and his views on the climate emergency.

Mr Abbott, whose consideration for the role prompted criticism from opposition parties, is among nine external advisers appointed to the Board of Trade.

The board, revived by Theresa May, is intended to help shape post-Brexit trade policy.

Mr Abetz has been a Senator for Tasmania since February 1994, representing the Liberal Party.

He was the Minister for Employment and the Leader of the Government in the Senate in the Abbott’s government from 2013 to 2015.

He also previously served as Special Minister of State in the Howard Government from 2001 to 2006 and as Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation from 2006 to 2007.

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