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Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne meet Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in Edinburgh, Scotland July 20, 2018. David Cheskin/Pool via Reuters

(reuters_tickers)

LONDON (Reuters) - Australia and Britain are ready to agree a free trade deal as soon as circumstances allow, Australian minister for foreign affairs Julie Bishop said on Friday.

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, hosting his first bilateral meeting since being appointed to the role earlier in July, said he had discussed a future trade deal with his visiting Australian counterpart.

"Both governments stand ready to agree a free trade agreement as soon as circumstances allow," Bishop told reporters at a British-Australia meeting in Edinburgh.

Britain wants to secure free trade deals with new partners following its departure from the European Union in March 2019.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison)

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Reuters