Australia just crushed the dream of a free trade deal and blamed Theresa May's Soft Brexit

Former High Commissioner Alexander Downer said it “wouldn’t be cricket” for the UK to expect to join the bloc while tying itself to EU rules for goods for years to come.

He said Japan’s agricultural sector had been forced to make big concessions to enter the free trade area.

“It would be unlikely to that the UK will be accepted without meeting the same obligations,” he said.

“The Brexit White Paper shows a desire for the UK to remain closely tied to the EU for manufactured and agricultural goods.

“In essence it says you want to be free to sell the things you’re good at and protect less competitive areas of your economy.

He added: “The UK should not fear embracing free trade – the gains are there to be had – but fair’s fair. Goods will need to be part of the deal and UK consumers will be the ones that benefit.”

The comments mark another blow to the PM following US President Donald Trump’s warning earlier this month that a US trade deal could be on the rocks.

The PM singled out the TPP in her White Paper as a potential bloc the UK could join after leaving the EU.

The partnership was signed in early 2016 between nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Vietnam and covering countries that represent 13 per cent of the world’s economic output.

It was formally signed in March in Chile.

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