HMS Sutherland has been confirmed by Gavin Williamson, British Secretary of State for Defense, to visit Australia next year as scheduled for her Asia Pacific deployment. The ship has been planned to address the onboard crew on Friday in Devonport as she sails to Asia Pacific, according to Williamson who has provided additional information on the deployment. Williamson has reaffirmed his commitment to explore opportunities for the U.K. and Australian Armed Forces to work together and strengthen the defense relationship of both countries, after the latest conversations with Christopher Pyne, Australian Minister for Defense Industry and Marise Payne, Defense Minister.
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The Australian Navy and the Royal Navy could find further opportunities to collaborate after the visit of the Type 23 antisubmarine warfare frigate. The ship has been scheduled to visit Adelaide, Perth, and Sydney. The deployment has been anticipated to offer an exceptional opportunity of joint exercising for the U.K. and Australia. Moreover, it could give an opportunity for Britain to showcase its state-of-the-art antisubmarine warfare technology. In 2016, both the countries exchanged goods and services worth a £13.1bn, marking them as extremely close trading partners. In the same year, the countries had started to scope out the parameters for a potential Free Trade Agreement and approved to set up a bilateral Trade Working Group.
This week, Liam Fox, British International Trade Secretary, has been in Australia to further develop the trade relationship between the countries. Earlier this month, Harriett Baldwin, British Minister for Defense Procurement, had visited the country.