British Prime Minister Theresa May is planning free-trade deals for the U.K.’s transition from the European Union.

Following the referendum that took place on June 23, the U.K. has slowly been strategizing its next move. Although there have been reports on possible behind-the-scene negotiations underway between the nation and prospective countries, no accord can be established until Britain has officially left the E.U.; which is a process the nation foresees will take up to about two and a half years.

British Prime Minister Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May meets the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Image credit: EFE/Andy Rain pool.

Nonetheless, May has high hopes for Britain’s future trade relations with other countries saying that the nation could be a “global leader in free-trade.”

One country that seems to have already jumped on board is Australia. According to Australian Trade Minister, Steven Ciobo, the two countries have had a “good alignment,” BBC reported.

Neither May nor Ciobo have given any details as to what the deal between the two would entail. However, Ciobo revealed that preliminary discussions on potential post-Brexit U.K.-Australia trade agreements have already begun.

During a Brexit political debate, May had reported that other countries who are keeping an eye open for potential trade relations with the U.K. once it has left the E.U. are India, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty 

The Lisbon Treaty sets out the constitutional framework of the European Union, to which Britain is bound until it officially leaves the alliance.

Article 50 is the portion of this important founding document that stipulates how a nation would go about withdrawing from the E.U., conforming to its “constitutional requirements”.

No member-state has yet invoked Article 50 of the treaty, meaning that from 2017 Britain will write a new chapter in European history.

The article states that any nation leaving the union should notify the European council of its intention and negotiate an agreement for its withdrawal as well as determine a legal basis for a future relationship with the E.U.

The agreement should then be qualified by a majority of the member-states accompanied by consent from the European Parliament.

The article also stipulates that leaving member states have two years from the date Article 50 is invoked to formalize new arrangements.

According to an article published by The Guardian, the manner in which the article is written fails to map out in detail exactly how E.U. withdrawal negotiations would go about.

One of the few pieces of concrete information provided is the duration within which leaving states are expected to wait before jumping into post-E.U. deals.

Failure to comply to this timeline could result in severed relations with the union upon the nation’s exit with no new provisions established unless remaining member-states agree to continue with negotiations.

Britain may be ready to tackle a historical post-E.U. journey, however, it still has a long road ahead before it can completely be independent of the European alliance.

Source: BBC