Australia says it's reached a free trade deal with Britain

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Britain and Australia had agreed on a free trade deal that will be released later Tuesday, Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said.

The agreement is the first for Britain since it left the European Union.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison had reached agreement on the deal during negotiations in London, Tehan said.

“Both prime ministers have held a positive meeting in London overnight and have resolved outstanding issues in relation to the FTA,” Tehan said in a statement, referring to the Free Trade Agreement.

“Their agreement is a win for jobs, businesses, free trade and highlights what two liberal democracies can achieve while working together,” Tehan added.

Both prime ministers would make a formal announcement on Tuesday morning in London and release further information, he said.

Tehan said he spoke to Morrison on Tuesday. Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud described the deal as a “in-principle agreement.”

“The details are being nutted out from the in-principle agreement that our two prime ministers were able to get to last night over dinner,” Littleproud told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“Our departments and the Trade Department are working through feverishly to make sure that an announcement can be made at our time tonight so that Australians will see exactly what is in that in-principle agreement,” he added.

The agreement is Australia’s 15th free trade agreement.

RMIT University international business expert Gabriele Suder said the deal was good news for both Britain and Australia.

“It’s wonderful news for the U.K. ... in particular because this is the first post-Brexit deal that has been really constructed from scratch, negotiated from scratch, and in addition has been negotiated in a record time of just one year, which is very, very unusual for free trade agreement negotiations,” Suder said.

Britain is Australia’s fifth-largest trading partner. Suder said she expected the deal would add 1.3 billion Australian dollars ($1 billion) a year to the Australian economy.

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