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Opening of FTA negotiations with Australia and New Zealand

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Published on Mar 1, 2016

I would always be in favour of EU free trade agreements with democracies, but as my country, the UK, approaches its referendum on EU membership, agreements with the Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand are particularly welcome.

For many of my Eurosceptic colleagues supporting the push to leave, one of the attractions is their belief that it will bring increased trade with the Commonwealth and the so-called Anglosphere. Negotiations on the EU-Canada FTA have been concluded and we are now moving towards the ratification process; TTIP negotiations are ongoing; and here we find ourselves now speaking of deals with Australia and New Zealand, not to mention the continued enthusiasm for a similar deal with India.

Far from the EU preventing the UK from trading with the Commonwealth and the wider world, the push for FTAs within the EU will soon make membership more advantageous than any independent agreements that we in the United Kingdom could conclude on our own. In the CETA agreement we have seen the Canadians make concessions that did not even exist within the NAFTA agreement with the United States, and I am confident that agreements with Australia and New Zealand will be equally as ambitious and beneficial to the United Kingdom.

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