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New era of free trade with the UK

New era of free trade with the UK article image

Australia has signed a landmark free trade agreement with the United Kingdom that will eliminate tariffs on 99 per cent of Australian goods exported to the UK.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan says the FTA will create new opportunities for Australian businesses and further strengthen the special relationship between our two countries.

With the exception of an FTA with New Zealand, it is the most comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement Australia has concluded, he says.

Key benefits

  • Immediate elimination of tariffs on over 99 per cent of Australian goods exports to the UK, valued at around $9.2 billion, when the agreement enters into force.
  • Australian farmers will have improved access to more than 65 million UK consumers.
  • About $43 million in annual customs duties will be removed from Australian wine when the agreement enters into force
  • For beef, a tariff-free quota of 35,000 tonnes at entry into force will expand to 110,000 tonnes in year 10. Tariffs on beef will be eliminated after ten years.
  • For sheep meat, a tariff-free quota of 25,000 tonnes at entry into force will expand to 75,000 in year 10. Tariffs on sheep meat will be eliminated after ten years.
  • For sugar, a tariff-free quota of 80,000 tonnes at entry into force will expand to 220,000 tonnes in Year 8. Sugar tariffs will be eliminated after eight years.

Job opportunities

Under the new agreement, Australian businesses will have the guaranteed right to bid for a greater variety of UK government contracts in a procurement market worth an estimated half-a-trillion dollars annually.

And Australian professionals will have the same access to the UK’s lucrative jobs market as their European competitors, apart from the Republic of Ireland.

This means Australian job seekers can compete on an equal footing with EU nationals in the UK for the first time in more than 40 years, Mr Tehan says.

Australian households and businesses will save around $200 million a year as tariffs on British imports into Australia are phased out. This includes cars, whisky, confectionery, biscuits and cosmetics.

Also, young people will have more time to travel to the UK for a working holiday and will be able to stay longer, with eligibility to participate in working holiday opportunities raised from 30 to 35 years of age and stays allowed for up to three years in each country.

Investment opportunities

UK businesses will be encouraged to invest in Australia thanks to best practice investment rules, including to set up regional headquarters in Australia to leverage our network of free trade agreements.

The FTA is expected to be ratified by the UK and Australian Governments by mid-2022 and will come into force in the second half of the year.

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