February 17, 2020 / 7:51 PM / 2 months ago

UK's Frost says ready for 'Australia-terms' FTA if EU still has doubts

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain’s negotiator with the European Union said on Monday that London was prepared to accept an “Australia-style” free trade agreement with the bloc if its member states continue to have doubts about the terms of a no-quotas, no-tariffs deal.

The EU does not have a free trade agreement with Australia, and so such an arrangement would effectively be a trade relationship governed by World Trade Organization rules.

David Frost told a university lecture in Brussels that Britain, which left the EU at the end of January, wanted a trade agreement similar to that which Canada has with the bloc when a transition period ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

EU negotiators have said that for a Canada-style deal, Britain would have to adopt a level playing field with the bloc on state aid, environment, employment and other regulations to guard against unfair competition with the European single market.

Frost said that whatever trade friction Britain faces when the transition period ends, his country would aim to minimize it as much as possible through customs facilitation.

Reporting by John Chalmers

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