Post-Brexit Britain wants to be “energetic champions of free and open trade”, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said.
Mr Raab is in Australia as part of a tour of the region to promote free trade deals and said a close relationship with Canberra was a “key part of the vision” for a “Global Britain”.
The cabinet minister, writing in a column for the Australian Financial Review, said the UK was “forging ahead as a self-confident, global nation, ready to reinvigorate our ties with old friends” after leaving the European Union at the end of last month.
He wrote: “On my first trip following our departure from the EU, I’m proud to be in Australia, one of the UK’s greatest partners and closest allies.
“You can see our deep relationship in the real rapport between our people, our vibrant cultural links, our world-leading educational exchanges, and our (mostly!) friendly sporting rivalry.
“We want to be energetic champions of free and open trade, so we can boost small businesses, cut the cost of living, reduce barriers and create the well-paid jobs of the future for the next generation of Australians and Britons.”
Mr Raab got his hands dirty during his visit to Sydney, picking up a spade and planting one of the first trees as part of an AstraZeneca project to plant 25 million in the country by 2025.
Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of the Anglo-Swedish company, joked that Mr Raab brought some “fine British rain” to a country which has been blighted by drought and wildfires in recent months.
Mr Raab said: “We maybe have brought the rain, I can’t guarantee it will stop in order for us to plant the trees.”