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New Post-brexit Trade Deal With Australia is a Game-changer for Britain, Says Tim Smith

Forty years ago, when the Heath government walked away from Britain’s most loyal friends and steadfast allies and joined the European Economic Community, it was a cruel shock to the many hundreds of thousands of Australians and Kiwis who had fought side by side Britain in two world wars.

It was a devastating economic blow to New Zealand and hurt Australia too. I would also argue it wasn’t much good for British consumers either being lumbered with the highly protectionist Common Agricultural Policy.

Tonight, the first new free trade deals negotiated by the United Kingdom from scratch after leaving the European Union come into force, and they are with Australia and New Zealand. It’s like the family is being put back together!

Romanticism and sentimentality are important emotions that bind friends and allies in good times and bad, but these free trade deals are the continuation of a most important geo-political pivot for the United Kingdom to the most dynamic and fastest growing region in the world, the Indo-Pacific.

That Britain will also join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an enormous free trade bloc that includes Canada, Singapore, Vietnam and the world’s third largest economy, Japan, is hugely significant.

The CPTPP is a market of 500 million people, and after the UK joins, it will be worth 15 percent of the world’s GDP. In the decades to come this will be game changer for the British economy.

Along with the free trade agreements, the AUKUS submarine and defence agreement is the most significant security agreement Australia signed with the UK since the 1950s.

AUKUS signals how seriously the UK takes its commitment to alliance security in the Indo-Pacific. Rishi Sunak’s recent announcement that the carrier strike group will again deploy to the Indo-Pacific in 2025 is a further indication of the seriousness Whitehall now views the threat Beijing poses to Britain’s allies and interests.

I have always argued that Britain is obviously a different country to Australia, but it is not a foreign country. I am one of the thousands of Australians who are privileged to call this island, home.

As former UK High Commissioner to Australia Menna Rawlings said: “It’s 10,545 miles from Canberra to London, but when we arrive in each other’s countries, we feel as if we’re at home, and I think that’s quite a unique experience.

“Australia hosts the largest British expat population in the world—1.2 million people. Incidentally, that’s higher than the total number of Brits living in the other 27 EU member states.”

Source : Express