Relations between the UK and Australia are about to hit a new high with a post-Brexit free trade agreement that will see both countries benefit. Significantly, the deal will mean lower costs for British businesses that want to sell their products in Australia.
“Today marks a new dawn in the UK’s relationship with Australia, underpinned by our shared history and common values,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “Our new free-trade agreement opens fantastic opportunities for British businesses and consumers, as well as young people wanting the chance to work and live on the other side of the world.”
The deal came to fruition during a dinner meeting between Johnson and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison in Downing Street in London on Monday. While the agreement will make it easier for British businesses to sell products such as Scotch whisky and cars to Australia, it is not without problems. One of the groups concerned about the new deal are British farmers who think they may be negatively affected by Australian affordable agricultural imports and the country’s food standards.
Johnson responded to these concerns by assuring UK’s farmers that they “will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards.” He also said that the government will support farmers “to increase their exports overseas, including to new markets in the Indo-Pacific.”
The free trade deal marks the first time the UK government has negotiated an agreement from the ground up since Brexit. It is the hope that the UK will build on this deal to also join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a more encompassing trade agreement in the Asia Pacific region. This is one of the world’s largest free trade regions with £9 trillion of GDP across eleven nations.
According to Ida Becker from fitforMoney.de, the deal is set to boost UK’s industries and make it easier for Brits under 35 to travel and work in Australia. “While the agreement is much less significant than the trade relationship between the UK and Germany, which was worth £136 billion in 2019, it is still a significant step. The UK / Australia trade relationship was worth £13.9 billion last year. In addition, the UK was Australia’s fifth largest trading partner both in 2019 and 2020.”
Morrison said that the deal is likely to open more job opportunities in Australia. “We either are passionate about growing the markets in which we can operate, providing opportunities for our own producers and suppliers and services, or we will stay in a situation of being unable to take up those opportunities.”