The UK’s trade deal with Australia, which was signed last month, has been welcomed by one of the country’s leading business groups.
The final deal was signed in a virtual ceremony by International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and will now be laid in Parliament for a period of scrutiny.
The Department for International Trade says the deal is expected to boost the economy and increase wages across the UK, while eliminating tariffs on 100 per cent of UK exports.
Commenting on the agreement, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Head of Trade Policy, William Bain, said: “Businesses will welcome this confirmation that the Australia-UK trade agreement has been finalised.
“There are opportunities for exporters in a new speedier customs process, zero tariffs on the vast majority of UK exports, improved market access on services, free flow of data and generous provisions on labour mobility for under 35s for up to three years.
“We will carefully examine the draft text of the trade agreement but look forward to it being in force by the middle of 2022. The key test of the success of this agreement will be the value it delivers in practice for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK looking to export.”
The key elements of the agreement include:
- Giving UK firms guaranteed access to bid for an additional £10 billion worth of Australian public sector contracts per year.
- Allowing young people to work and travel in Australia for up to three years at a time, removing previous visa conditions.
- For the first time UK service suppliers including architects, scientists, researchers, lawyers and accountants will have access to visas to work in Australia without being subject to Australia’s changing skilled occupation list. This is more than Australia has ever offered any other country in a free trade agreement.
- Removing tariffs on all UK exports, making it cheaper to sell iconic products like cars, Scotch whisky and UK fashion to Australia, while making Australian favourites like Jacob’s Creek and Hardys wines, Tim Tams and surfboards more accessible for British consumers.
The deal is also a gateway into the fast-growing Indo-Pacific region and will boost our bid to join CPTPP, one of the largest free trade areas in the world, covering £8.4 trillion of GDP and 11 Pacific nations from Australia to Mexico.
David McCredie, the CEO of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce which represents the interests of 25,000 businesses engaged in trade across the two countries said:
“The potential impact is huge. This Free Trade Agreement is one of the most ambitious agreements signed by Australia and reflects the strength of historical and ongoing trading ties between the two nations.”
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the only business group with members of every size, from every sector, in both every region and nation of the UK and in over 70 markets around the world.
For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our expert international trade team today.