Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrey Kelin has announced Moscow’s readiness to sign a new trade deal with London after Britain's withdrawal from the EU.
“We would like to get a new comprehensive trade agreement [with the UK], but there's still a very long way to go”, he told the Valdai Discussion Club's press conference on Friday.
According to him, Russia and the UK need to clinch bilateral agreements in the field of aviation, transport and trade in fissile materials, among other things.
“In principle, we have already made an inventory of what we could do [jointly] with the UK. The British side is keeping mum on the issue because it is now engaged in more urgent matters” for it”, Kelin said.
The Russian ambassador also did not exclude the possibility of Moscow signing a deal with London on a free trade zone, if the British side wanted it.
“Our economists and some businessmen are quite bold in stressing the need to clinch such a deal, which, in principle, is not a hypothesis, but quite a possible thing”, Kelin said, adding that London’s “very bold, new position” is needed for this.
The statement comes as time is already ticking for Brexit, which is due to take place later in the day and which will be followed by an 11-month transition period, during which Britain will remain committed to the existing trade deals with the bloc, but will be able to negotiate new agreements with other countries.
In August 2019, Russia's trade representative in London Boris Abramov underscored that concluding a new trade deal between Moscow and London “would be beneficial to both parties”.
Abramov added that whether the United Kingdom left the European Union with or without a deal, Moscow and London would continue, at the very least, to trade under the policies outlined by the World Trade Organization.