EU Opens Trade Talks with Australia and New Zealand Without the UKNew trade deals

The European Union moved to open formal talks with English-speaking members of the Commonwealth without Great Britain which risks being cast out of the trade deal.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced in Strasbourg on that he was launching negotiations with Australia and New Zealand on a deal with the EU – giving the 27-nation bloc a head start on UK negotiators.

On the table are also upcoming negotiations about trade deals with Mexico and parts of South America, as countries from around the world are willing to reach agreements with the EU.

Brexit and Missed Opportunities

Earlier this year the UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox asked Australia for a trade deal explaining that he could not sign one until Britain had left the EU.  The Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull made it clear that with UK’s future outside the EU still uncertain, serious talks are still yet to begin.

Preliminary negotiations between Australia and the EU were already completed in April this year, following an announcement of intention to start a trade deal by both actors in November 2015. The Australian government says the EU is its largest export services market and also it’s the largest source of foreign investment.

Trade and Brexit

In his State of the Union speech in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning Mr. Juncker said that with the help of the European Parliament, we have just secured a trade agreement with Canada that will provisionally apply as of next week.  Juncker also said the EU will move on without the UK after ‘sad and tragic’ Brexit. “I want all of these agreements to be finalized by the end of this mandate. And I want them negotiated in the fullest transparency.” But the Commission President, who will be in post until 2019, warned that despite its drive for trade, the EU was not composed of “naïve free traders”. “Europe must always defend its strategic interests,” he added.

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Potential UK-Japan deal

Mr. Juncker said he believed Britain would “regret” leaving the EU, and that the union would move on agreeing on new trade areas without the UK.

The move by the EU comes after it became public that Britain’s chief trade negotiator tried to bypass domestic regulations in order to secure a deal with other countries. The UK is already planning to “strike back” on an EU trade deal with Japan. A UK-Japan deal would take advantage of Britain’s compliance with EU regulations at the point of exit and thus be able to be concluded “immediately” after the EU and Japan concluded theirs.

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