UK-Australia FTA should come into effect this year

Industry News | | MIC Customs Solutions |

A deal between the UK and Australia was signed last month.

A new free trade agreement (FTA) between the United Kingdom and Australia should come into effect this year after both nations committed to passing the necessary legislation.

The deal was signed on December 16th 2021 following an agreement in principle having been made in June, marking Britain's first from scratch since its departure from the European Union.

UK international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison made the agreement formal in a virtual ceremony due to ongoing restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FTA will eliminate tariffs on 100 per cent of UK exports to Australia, making it cheaper to sell cars, whisky and clothing, while Australian businesses should also find it significantly easier to make their wines and other specialty items accessible to UK markets.

In addition, Australian farmers should see benefits from the FTA compared to the period when the UK was a member of the EU. During that time, trade barriers were in place that made agricultural and food exports less attractive, meaning Australia instead turned to China and other parts of Asia. Now the tariffs have been removed, farmers may be able to build extra markets for their products in Britain.

Rules of origin will be more flexible than before, too, so products like biscuits that are made from imported ingredients will still qualify for tariff-free entry at the borders.

Meanwhile, the UK is sure to be hoping the agreement could fast-track its application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Ms Trevelyan commented: "Our UK-Australia trade deal is a landmark moment in the historic and vital relationship between our two Commonwealth nations."
Britain is currently Australia's fifth-largest goods trading partner, with major Australian exports including wine, pearls and lead.

The FTA will now go through the necessary legal channels before coming into effect, both nations hope, at some point in 2022.