No one knows how Brexit will happen but the United Kingdom's top trade official is in Australia ready to secure a free-trade deal when it finally does.
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss will be in Canberra on Wednesday for talks with her Australian counterpart Simon Birmingham about her country's exit from the European Union.
Ms Truss said the British government was committed to securing agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US, as well as potentially joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"As the UK prepares to leave the EU on October 31, we look forward to taking back control of our trade policy and negotiating new free trade agreements," she said in a statement.
"I am visiting some of our most like-minded trade partners this week to send a clear message: the UK is an open, welcoming business destination and we are ready to trade."
Senator Birmingham said the talks would help Australia understand what was going on with Brexit.
"We are eager, as we understand the UK to be, to establish formal free trade agreements as soon as Brexit has occurred," he told Sky News.
"The UK is already a top 10 trading partner for Australia.
"The opportunity is for us to lower some of the barriers to trade with the UK, for our farmers, for our businesses, by doing away with some of the quotas and tariff regimes that they currently have as part of their EU relationship."
Senator Birmingham said free-trade deals sealed over the past six years had lifted exports, created jobs, and buoyed Australia's economy during uncertain times.
With less than seven weeks until Britain is due to leave the EU, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has yet to reach an agreement with Brussels on how to manage the separation between the world's fifth-largest economy and its biggest trading partner.
He is hoping a Brexit deal can be clinched at an EU summit on October 17-18, but in any case has promised to take the nation out of the bloc on October 31, deal or no deal.
Australian Associated Press