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How long can Britain be deprived of Tim Tams? Boris Johnson hails 'reasonably priced' biscuits ahead of UK-Australia trade talks

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 17/06/2020 Luke O'Reilly
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Boris Johnson joked that a trade deal between the UK and Australia would bring "wonderful" Tim Tam's biscuits to the British people at a "reasonable price".

The Prime Minister’s comments came after International Trade Secretary Liz Truss published the UK’s negotiating objectives with Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday.

The Government hopes trade agreements with the two Commonwealth countries will aid the coronavirus recovery by opening up new markets for businesses and creating jobs.

Mr Johnson, in a video posted on Twitter “inaugurating” the post-Brexit talks with Australia, joked about wanting to be able to trade McVitie’s Penguin chocolate biscuits in exchange for Australian Tim Tams, a similar style of confectionery that is popular Down Under, as part of any fresh bilateral terms.

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: The Prime Minister called Tim Tams 'wonderful' © Provided by Evening Standard The Prime Minister called Tim Tams 'wonderful'

“Think of the potential which we have,” he said. “I want a world in which we send you Marmite, you send us Vegemite.

“We send you Penguins and you send us, with reduced tariffs, these wonderful Arnott’s Tim Tams.

“How long can the British people be deprived of the opportunity to have Arnott’s Tim Tams at a reasonable price?”

On a more serious note, the Prime Minister said that the UK and Australia were united "by so much" already.

“There is a huge amount we can do, whether it is on financial services or across all the sectors of our free trade agreement," he said.

“We share a language, we share a head of state, we are united by so much already.

“Let’s get this free trade agreement done, Australia and the UK coming closer together than ever before.”

However, Mr Johnson's performance drew criticism online. Lib Dem London 2021 candidate Siobhan Benita called it "waffle", and scientist Mike Galsworthy remarked that biscuits were not a major part of the UK's economy.

Actor Stephen McGann pointed out that Covid-19 deaths were continuing to rise.

Ms Truss, announcing the Government’s negotiation stance, said pivoting towards the Asia-Pacific region would diversify trade and increase the resilience of UK supply chains.

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

Drinks companies, the automotive industry and professional services firms – as well as small and medium-sized businesses – are expected to benefit from a trade deal.

The agreements are also set to include chapters on digital trade.

Britain is seeking to sign trade deals which can come into force after December 31, when the Brexit transition period ends. Talks with the EU, US and Japan are ongoing.

The first round of trade talks between the UK, Australia and New Zealand is expected to begin – via video conference – in the coming weeks.


Video: Gove: UK leaving Brexit transition period on December 31 (ITN )

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