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Aust, UK meeting a 'glutinous harmony'

Press AssociationPress Association 10/09/2016

Australia is "keen" for a free trade deal with the UK, Boris Johnson says, adding he's "very confident" an outline agreement can be reached ahead of Brexit.

A "glutinous harmony" had prevailed during the annual Australia-UK ministerial meeting, Britain's foreign minister said after talks with the delegation, including counterpart Julie Bishop.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier promised an ''early... very strong, very open'' agreement with Britain after meeting Theresa May last weekend.

But Trade Minister Steven Ciobo this week described Australia's historical tie with the UK as ''a relationship of yesteryear" and dampened hopes of a swift deal, insisting formal negotiations could not begin until the UK had finally left the EU.

"I'm very confident that we will be able to at least sketch out, pencil in, the essentials of a very progressive deal that will be good for Australia, good for the UK, good for Europe and good for the world," Johnson said.

He said it would be a "fantastic thing" if the UK had a "more sensible system" for dealing with migration between the UK and Australia.

"This is something where I think we can make progress and I'm confident that we will."

Johnson called for the Commonwealth to be "put back in the primacy" of world affairs in the coming years.

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