Date Set for Australia UK Free Trade Agreement

May 9, 2023

Source: Austrade
Source: Austrade

During his recent visit to the UK, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced May 31 as the date of entry into force of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA).

With its entry into force, there will be no tariffs on over 99% of Australian goods exported to the UK, opening up new export opportunities, including for the agriculture sector. This includes Australian exports of wine, short- and medium-grain rice, honey, nuts, and manufactured products such as auto parts, electrical equipment, and cosmetic products.

The UK, a nation of 67 million people, imports all of its rice. “It is not an overstatement to say this FTA is the most significant market access outcome for Australian rice exports the Government has delivered in recent history,” says SunRice Group Chairman and rice grower, Laurie Arthur. The deal will include complete removal of all tariff and quota arrangements for short and medium grain rice varietals from the first day of the FTA coming into effect, with some tariff and quota arrangements remaining in place for long grain varietals.

For some agricultural products like beef, sheep meat, dairy and sugar, Australia will have access to expanding tariff quota volumes – within 10 years these tariff quotas will be eliminated completely.

After five years, all UK imports will enter Australia duty free. This is expected to bring savings of approximately $200 million a year. On services exports worth $4.4 billion in 2021-22, the deal includes commitments on the movement of business people, making it easier to do business in the UK market.

The FTA also provides a framework for professional bodies to agree to streamline licensing processes to facilitate the movement of qualified professionals between Australia and the UK. This outcome will help address the skills shortage in Australia.

Within two years of entry into force, Australians will be able to apply for working holidays in the UK to the age of 35, up from 30, and stay for a maximum of three years instead of two.

Digital trade rules under the A-UKFTA will provide greater certainty and facilitate trade for Australian businesses looking to grow their digital footprint in the UK.

The deal includes strong commitments on the environment, including climate change, and labour.

Albanese said: “The Australia-UK FTA represents one of the most comprehensive, innovative and ambitious free trade agreements concluded by Australia to date and strengthens an already close relationship between Australia and the UK.”


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