Bad news for Brexiteers, as Australia hints firms could ditch Britain for Ireland

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called Brexit a 'real opportunity'

 

The government’s overly optimistic views on post-Brexit trade deals have been dealt a blow as a senior Australian Minister says Brexit presents a ‘real opportunity’ for Australian companies to relocate from the UK to Ireland to access EU markets.

Last week, International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox hosted Commonwealth Trade Ministers, extolling the virtues of free trade deals with them post- Brexit, while ministers from the Prime Minister down have made securing a free trade deal with Australia an early priority after Brexit.

Speaking to the Irish Times last month however, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop did not seem to share the optimisms of the Brexit Government.

She told the paper:

“Many Australian firms have accessed the EU via Britain. With the uncertainty surrounding what a post-Brexit Britain will look like, I believe Australian firms will look to Ireland to fulfil that role.

Ireland has a very attractive business environment, low corporate tax rates, [a good] lifestyle and there is the connection between Australia and Ireland.

There are similar regulatory systems and similar legal systems. There is an ease of doing business here that would be attractive to Australian investors. I would see firms in Australia as having real potential in that regard.”

Describing Ireland as an ‘obvious partner’ to do business within the EU, she continued:

“Ireland is superbly positioned to attract that kind of engagement from Australian business. I see this as a great opportunity of how we, Australia and Ireland, can take advantage of what has occurred in Brexit.”

The comments come as Brexit Secretary, David Davis, yesterday told the Commons Brexit Committee that the government cannot quantify the impact of leaving the EU without knowing what the post-Brexit trade environment would look like.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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