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This is how it’s done, Brussels! UK plans Australia trade deal in just MONTHS

Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham said he hoped negotiations could be completed by the end of 2020. Talks between Mr Birmingham and International Trade Secretary Liz Truss will be launched via video link today.

Australia’s trade minister told the Financial Times: “I do hope that if we can, we could get something settled before the end of the year.

“But that would be record breaking time for trade deals.”

Ms Truss has published the UK’s negotiating objectives for trade deals with Australia and New Zealand.

She said trade agreements with the two countries would “make good on the promise of Brexit”.

She added moving towards the Asia-Pacific region would diversify trade and increase the resilience of UK supply chains.

The Government hopes deals with Australia and New Zealand will boost the coronavirus recovery by opening up new markets for businesses and creating jobs.

Its analysis suggests the value of UK exports to the two countries could increase by a huge £1 billion as a result of trade agreements.

Ms Truss said: “Our new-found status as an independent trading nation will enable us to strengthen ties with countries around the world.

READ MORE: Michael Gove rages at EU Brexit demands that UK ‘cannot accept’

The Prime Minister spoke to European Council chief Charles Michel, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament president David Sassoli at the virtual summit.

He was joined by his Europe adviser David Frost, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and the UK’s ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow.

Following the video conference, Mr Johnson said a deal could be done but “the faster we can do this the better”.

On the possibility of a “cut-off date” on the talks, he said: “What we already said today is the faster we can do this the better, we see no reason why you shouldn’t get that done in July.

“The issue is very clear, we fought an election based on these ideas, the manifesto was very clear.

“I certainly don’t want to see it going on to the autumn/winter as I think perhaps in Brussels they would like.”

In a joint statement, the two sides said the earlier rounds of talks led by Mr Frost and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier had been “constructive” but “new momentum was required”.

They agreed plans to “intensify the talks in July and to create the most conducive conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal before the end of 2020”.

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