The UK has agreed on a Free Trade Agreement with Australia, which can reduce tariffs and restrictions for UK businesses. But what's in the deal?
Australia and the UK are signing a comprehensive and high-quality FTA. Here is the rundown of what's included in the deal at high-level:
The UK was Australia’s 12th-largest goods trading partner in 2018-19, with our major exports to the UK being gold, lead and wine. Both partners will grant exporters and importers on both sides improved market access for our goods exports, including agricultural products, through the elimination of tariffs, quotas and non-tariff barriers under the FTA.
Expand trade in goods
improves market access for each other's agricultural and industrial products
reduces barriers to trade and costs through modern customs, rules of origin and trade facilitation procedures
include mechanisms that address non-tariff barriers to trade.
Customs and trade facilitation
The agreement includes commitments that facilitate increased trade with the UK, while also allowing both Parties to maintain effective customs control. The provisions are consistent with obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation and Customs Valuation Agreements.
Technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures
Both parties will reduce technical barriers to trade with the UK by assessing and removing trade-restrictive measures, while also ensuring robust health and safety standards continue to protect Australian and UK consumers and industry, as well as the environment.
Rules of Origin
The deal will create liberal Rules of Origin (RoO) that facilitate market access and reflect modern production processes, global value chains and commercial transportation arrangements. Details to follow.
The deal includes a chapter that affirms both Parties’ rights and obligations under the framework of the WTO. Additional safeguard mechanisms would only be considered when there are ambitious market access commitments in the agreement.
Benefits for UK businesses
The key benefits include (see below):
tariff free trade for all British goods
easier for Brits to travel and work in Australia
lower prices and more choice for British shoppers
enhanced access for British tech companies
greater opportunities for UK professionals in Australia
boost for UK services industries
slashing red tape for entrepreneurs and small business
access to billions of pounds worth of procurement contracts
stronger cooperation on shared challenges
paves the way to CPTPP
The UK says;
"This deal is the first we have negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU and shows what we are capable of as a sovereign trading nation. It is a fundamentally liberalising agreement that removes tariffs on all UK exports, from cars and whisky to ceramics, deepens access for our services providers and creates new opportunities for our tech industry, supporting millions of jobs across the country. It is the most advanced deal Australia have agreed with any nation bar New Zealand, creating a new gold-standard for digital trade and innovation that will help us lead the world in the industries of the future and build back better from Covid-19. It is a win-win for both countries.
It deepens links between two nations bound by common values and a shared belief in democracy, free trade, and high standards in areas like food and animal welfare. It will help us better address global challenges together – from tackling unfair trading practices to combatting climate change – and make it easier for our people to travel to and work in Australia, strengthening our ties of kinship. Brits under the age of 35 will be able to travel and work in Australia for up to three years, opening major opportunities for younger people.
The deal paves the way for the UK to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the largest free trade areas in the world, of which Australia is a key member. Unlike EU membership, we would keep control over our laws, borders and money, while gaining access to an agreement that cuts tariffs on 95% of goods traded between members and includes some of the biggest economies of the present and future, from Japan and Mexico to Malaysia and Singapore. By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s middle classes will be in Asia, creating vast news opportunities for our farmers, manufacturers, tech firms and service providers".
Key provisions (from Gov.uk)
Boost to iconic exporters, more consumer choice – the deal eliminates tariffs on all UK goods, making it cheaper to sell products like Scotch whisky and cars to Australia, supporting the 3.5 million jobs linked to exports to the Aussie market. For our consumers, it means lower prices and better choice, including on iconic Aussie favourites such as wine, swimwear and treats like Tim Tams. The agreement will help our manufacturers source cheaper imports of vital parts and ingredients from Australia.
Enhanced access for British tech companies – the deal will create opportunities for the UK's cutting edge digital and tech sectors, preparing us to lead in industries of the future like AI, space exploration and low emissions technology. The gold standard deal, with the world's first ever innovation chapter, will facilitate the free flow of data, saving UK businesses from the cost of setting up servers in Australia, whilst maintaining personal data protections standards for British consumers.
Lawyers, engineers, architects and other professionals will find it easier to work in Australia. The deal will help facilitate the recognition of UK professional qualifications across many sectors, creating opportunities for our professionals while allowing British companies to attract and retain global talent.
Slashes red tape for entrepreneurs and small business – including for the 13,000 small and medium sized businesses across the country who already export to Australia. The agreement will deliver quicker export times and ensure small business have access to new intelligence that will better allow them to seize the opportunities created by the deal.
Boost for UK services industries – the global economy is increasingly services-driven and it is an area where the UK already excels – with services accounting for more than 56 per cent of our total exports to Australia. This deal will help the UK capitalise on the trend towards services, with its cutting-edge provisions allowing UK and Australian service professionals access to each other's markets and reducing barriers to investment.
Sources: ONS UK Trade: All countries, non-seasonally adjusted, October to December 2020; ONS Services exports by modes of supply, 2019; HMRC UK trade in goods by business characteristics, 2019; HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics, October to December 2020
Improve access for services providers
Locks in access for services exporters and create opportunities in sectors of key commercial interest, such as financial and professional services
Establishes best practice digital trade commitments, which strike a balance between facilitating modern trade and ensuring appropriate protections in the online environment.
Increase two-way investment flows
Establishes modern investment rules that promote two-way investment, supporting economic growth
Enhances transparency frameworks and regulatory regimes to provide greater certainty for investors.
Promote balanced rules on intellectual property rights
Supports innovation and creativity through the facilitation of trade and investment in intellectual property
Maintains a balance between the interests of rights holders, users and the public interest.
Promote opportunities for SMEs and on government procurement
Agrees on ambitious rules that assist small and medium-sized enterprises to take advantage of the benefits of this agreement
Ensures improved access to government procurement markets for Australian and UK suppliers on the basis of clear and transparent rules for tendering.
Promote shared values on trade and sustainable development
Promotes compliance with internationally recognised labour standards
Ensures high levels of environmental protection, consistent with internationally agreed principles, standards and rules.
Establish strong legal and institutional frameworks to ensure the effective implementation of the FTA
Establishes streamlined institutional mechanisms to ensure the agreement operates efficiently and minimises red tape
Establishes a state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism that provides transparent and efficient procedures for settling disputes
Provides exceptions to ensure the government can continue to regulate in the public interest.
10 key benefits of the UK-Australia deal