Brexit: Malcolm Turnbull warns ‘be careful what you wish for’
Malcolm Turnbull insisted Australia’s relationship with the EU is “not one from a trade point of view that I think Britain would want”. His comments come after Boris Johnson said there is a “strong possibility” the UK will end up with an Australian-style arrangement – a no-deal outcome trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.
Speaking on BBC Question Time, Mr Turnbull said: “We have a deal with the EU on WTO terms and there are really some very large barriers to Australian trade with Europe which we are seeking to address as we negotiate a free trade agreement with Europe.
“But Australians would not regard our trade relationship with Europe as being a satisfactory one.
“It’s our third biggest trading partner I guess collectively because it’s such a big economy.
“But there are very big barriers to Australian exports of agriculture products in particular and a lot of friction in the system in terms of services.
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“So you know there’s a lot to aim for. When I was prime minister we started formal negotiations of a Europe-Australia free trade agreement, but that will take some time.
“Be careful what you wish for. I mean Australia’s relationship with the EU is not one from a trade point of view that I think Britain would want, frankly.”
Speaking on Thursday, the Prime Minister admitted there is a “strong possibility” Britain will have an Australian-style arrangement rather than a deal similar to Canada’s.
Mr Johnson said: “I do think we need to be very, very clear, there is now a strong possibility – a strong possibility – that we will have a solution that is much more like an Australian relationship with the EU than a Canadian relationship with the EU.”
Chief negotiators Michel Barnier and Lord Frost are continuing talks in Brussels in a bid to reach a breakthrough.
Mr Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have agreed to make a decision on the future of the negotiations by the end of the weekend.
The Prime Minister on Friday warned that no deal is “very, very likely”.
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Mr Johnson admitted the UK and EU are still at odds over fisheries and the so-called level playing field, but added that he was “hopeful” there could be progress.
Speaking during a visit to Blyth in Northumberland, Mr Johnson said: “Unfortunately at the moment, as you know, there are two key things where we just can’t seem to make progress.
“And that’s this kind of ratchet clause they’ve got in to keep the UK locked in to whatever they want to do in terms of legislation, which obviously doesn’t work.
“Then there is the whole issue of fish where we’ve got to be able to take back control of our waters.
“So there is a way to go – we’re hopeful that progress can be made.
“But I’ve got to tell that from where I stand now, here in Blyth, it is looking very, very likely that we will have to go for a solution that I think would be wonderful for the UK, and we’d be able to do exactly what we want from January.
“It obviously would be different from what we’d set out to achieve but I have no doubt this country can get ready and, as I say, come out on World Trade terms.”
Meanwhile, Mrs von der Leyen said the two sides remained apart on “fundamental issues”.
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