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UK PM Sunak: I won't sacrifice quality for speed in trade deals

G20 summit in Bali

LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday his government would take the time to get free trade agreements with other nations right, and not sacrifice quality for speed in future trade deals under his post-Brexit trade policy.

Sunak was asked about comments by a former minister criticising Britain's trade deal with Australia, an agreement which was negotiated before he was prime minister and which he himself has previously described as one-sided.

"Going forward, I want to make sure that we don't sacrifice quality for speed when it comes to trade deals, and that's going to be my approach," Sunak told the BBC at the G20 summit in Indonesia, adding the Australia deal had some good aspects.

"I want to take the time to get trade deals right - right for Britain."

Sunak had criticised the Australia deal in August, when he ran against former trade minister Liz Truss to be leader. Truss won that contest but resigned less than two months later after her fiscal plan spooked markets.

On Monday, George Eustice, a former environment minister who Truss sacked, said the Australia trade deal was "not actually a very good deal for the UK" and the government should learn from "failures" in talks.

"The UK gave away far too much for far too little in return," Eustice said in parliament.

Britain is in talks with several countries, including India, over new trade deals, as it attempts to establish itself as an independent trading country after leaving the European Union.

A U.S. free trade deal was touted as the one of the biggest prizes for Britain leaving the European Union. But hopes of a quick agreement were dashed when the incoming Biden administration put all free trade talks on ice.

In a speech late on Monday in Washington, current trade minister Kemi Badenoch said it was "no secret" Britain wanted a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the United States.

She also said she would raise concerns over the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, saying it was "important these measures don't conflate long-standing allies and partners like the UK" with countries that threaten U.S. interests.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Alistair Smout, Editing by Kylie MacLellan and Raissa Kasolowsky)