I had breakfast with Tony Abbott the former Prime Minster of Australia today. We talked trade deals and he explained that they can often be done quicker if the political will is there. He cited examples of three while he was Prime Minister with Korea, China and Japan.
He gave a very interesting insight into how he approached the process, saying that he told his negotiators what he needed from the start and gave them a time limit. They had 12 months to produce the best deal and they did.
There is a danger, as we discussed, that if deals are left to trade negotiators then the process can become prolonged because there is no incentive to speed up the process. Getting a deal done quickly then needs political will.
This is something I think we should all be thinking about during the Brexit talks and the trade negotiations we have ahead with both the EU and new partners around the world. The political will has to be there and by using negotiators who understand this, the talks can be focused on finding the best possible outcomes.