Australian PM seeks free trade deal with UK 'as soon as possible' after Brexit

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said his country wants to seal a free trade agreement with the UK "as soon as possible" after Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

Mr Turnbull's comments came after he held talks at 10 Downing Street with Theresa May, who revealed that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will visit Australia in the "coming months" as part of ongoing talks on an agreement.

The two prime ministers visited the scene of last month's London Bridge terror attack to thank emergency workers who went to the aid of victims, who included two Australian nationals.

Mr Turnbull's first official visit to the UK as prime minister will also include an audience with the Queen.

Speaking alongside Mrs May in Downing Street, the Australian PM said: "As Britain moves to completing its exit from the EU, we stand ready to enter into a free trade agreement with the UK as soon as the UK is able to do so.

"Once Brexit is achieved, we look forward to speedily concluding a free trade agreement. At the same time, we are looking forward to the early conclusion of a free trade agreement with the EU."

Mr Turnbull said he hoped the EU deal could be finalised before the expected date of Brexit in March 2019.

And asked how quickly a UK agreement could follow, he said: "As soon as possible. We move quickly. Australians are fleet of foot, we don't muck around, we are very simple. So we will move as quickly as the UK is able to move."


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