The Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement has received Royal Assent in the UK Parliament, paving the way for both countries to bring the agreement into force “as soon as possible”, according to Australian Minister for Trade Don Farrell.
The agreement is the first trade deal signed by the UK since Brexit.
Mr Farrell said it will reset access to the UK market for Australian exporters, with the removal of tariffs on over 99 percent of the $9.2 billion Australian goods exported to the UK annually.
“It will help revitalise local manufacturing and provide new access to the UK’s government procurement market worth an estimated half a trillion dollars annually,” he said.
The Australia-UK FTA will enter into force after UK processes are complete and Australia and the UK exchange diplomatic notes identifying a commencement date.
National Farmers Federation chief executive, Tony Mahar said the deal improves access to an important market for Aussie farmers, and also gives UK consumers “the option of sustainable, high quality Australian produce on supermarket shelves to complement their existing home-grown options”.
“We applaud the Australian and UK governments for reaching a deal that meaningfully reduces trade barriers, at a time when many countries are choosing to step back from trade liberalisation.”
Specific outcomes relevant to agriculture include:
Beef tariffs will be eliminated after 10 years. During the transition period, Australia will have immediate access to a duty-free quota of 35,000 tonnes, rising in equal instalments to 110,000 tonnes in year 10 years.
Sheep meat tariffs will be eliminated after 10 years. During the transition period, Australia will have immediate access to a duty-free quota of 25,000 tonnes, rising in equal instalments to 75,000 tonnes in year 10 years.
Sugar tariffs will be eliminated over eight years. During the transition period, Australia will have immediate access to a duty-free quota of 80,000 tonnes, rising by 20,000 tonnes each year.
Dairy tariffs will be eliminated over five years. During the transition period, Australia will have immediate access to a duty-free quota for cheese of 24,000 tonnes, rising in equal instalments to 48,000 tonnes in year five.
Australian dairy farmers will also have immediate access to a duty-free quota for non-cheese dairy of 20,000 tonnes.
Rice will receive immediate duty free access for short and medium grain milled rice when the agreement enters in force.
Sources: Australian Minister for Trade, National Farmers Federation
The delay in signing the agreement has meant that UK and Australian citizens between 31 and 35 cannot yet apply for working holiday visas. For Australia this means that a large number of potential workers in the low skilled workforce are not yet available. New Zealand has already agreed, from 1st July 2023, to raise the age for working holiday visas to 35. I believe Australia should do the same.