Britain’s decision to leave the European Union could open the door for an Australia-UK free trade agreement (FTA), an expert says.
The UNSW Business School's JW Nevile Fellow of Economics, Tim Harcourt, says an FTA with the UK would benefit Australian businesses, given the close relationship businesses here already have with the UK.
“Most exporting SMEs from Australia start in London rather than the European continent anyway. London is a natural base for Aussie companies,” Mr Harcourt said.
Legally, the UK cannot sign new agreements while it is still a part of the EU, but Mr Harcourt said the Australian and British prime ministers have already had “a constructive chat” about a possible FTA.
Trade talks in the UK are “hotting up”, he said, adding that Canberra needs to “move in fast” to arrange a beneficial agreement because other nations will be looking to do the same.
“Aussie business had better move fast, and we also need to watch competition from Asia. There are many other countries that will be keen to do a deal with the UK,” he warned.