Monday, December 6, 2021

UK agrees major free trade agreement with Australia

The UK has secured a trade deal with Australia eliminating tariffs on all UK goods and boosting jobs and businesses across the country.

This is the first major trade deal negotiated from scratch by the government since the UK left the European Union.

The new Free Trade Agreement means iconic British products like cars, Scotch whisky, biscuits and ceramics will be cheaper to sell into Australia, boosting UK industries that employ 3.5 million people across the country.

The UK-Australia trade relationship was worth £13.9 billion last year and is set to grow under the deal, creating opportunities for businesses and producers in every part of the UK.

British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards.

The government are also supporting agricultural producers to increase their exports overseas, including to new markets in the Indo-Pacific.

“The UK and Australia are important trade partners when it comes to food and drink, with trade in our sector’s products worth more than £800m in 2020. The FDF therefore welcomes the news that the UK has agreed broad terms of a trade deal with Australia,” said Dominic Goudie, Head of International Trade at the FDF.

“It is now vital that we know the detail of what has been agreed to help businesses understand and begin to prepare for the new terms of trade.

“Food and drink manufacturers will hope that this deal will remove burdensome and unnecessary barriers to trade that will provide a timely boost for our industry’s post-COVID recovery.

“The terms must also ensure that consumers have continued confidence that any agreement maintains the highest food safety and animal welfare standards.”

According to the FDF in 2020, the value of food and drink exports to Australia totalled £423 million. In that same year, Australia was the UK’s 11th biggest export market.

Top products exported to Australia in 2020 were whisky (£116m); gin (£28m), and savoury snacks (£27m).

Top imports from Australia in 2020 were wine (£280m); lamb and mutton (£46m) and pulses (£8.5m).

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