Liam Fox said informal discussions have begun
In spite of stern warnings from the EU not to conduct formal trade talks before Britain triggers Article 50, the International Trade Secretary said it is in "Britain's national interest" to begin discussions.
He confirmed Britain is in informal talks, launching working trade groups with Australia, China, the Gulf States, New Zealand, South Korea and a trade audit with India.
Dr Fox told an International trade committee: "The legal positon of any country in the EU is bound by common commercial policy.
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"However we have made it clear we are leaving EU, and in time Article 50 will triggered shortly.
"There is no precedent for this, we have said we all abide by duties for cooperation and while we are members of EU will push for trade liberalisation
"Howeber it would be against Britain's national interests for us not to discuss with future trade partners what those trade agreements might be."
Dr Fox also revealed he is also in financial talks with Qatar in the Middle East.
"We have a number of ways that we can do that, a number of different arrangements with a number of different countries depending what we see is for a potential of an agreement in an early time frame.
"So we will be discussing and scoping out future agreements with countries. We won't be signing legal documents but the Government is there to do what is good for the United Kingdom's national interest."
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