Australia and UK sign historic free trade agreement that abolishes 99 per cent of tariffs

Kimberley Caines and Lanai ScarrThe West Australian
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VideoTrade Minister Dan Tehan says the free trade agreement with the UK was a great outcome for Australia’s economy and the Agriculture industry

Australia and Britain have formally signed an historic free trade agreement in a deal that will abolish tariffs on 99 per cent of our nation’s exports to the UK worth ­almost $10 billion.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan signed off on the agreement with British Trade Minister Anne Trevelyan via videolink on Friday, which will save households more than $200 million a year on British imports.

“This agreement is a win win for both our countries,” he said.

“This historic free trade agreement is an example to the rest of the world of the importance of free trade and what it will deliver in terms of jobs and of growth.”

The deal marks a long-running negotiation between our country and Britain and means Australia is the first country to sign up to an FTA post Brexit.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed it in the US in September and also in Rome on the sidelines of the G20.

“This agreement unites our great free trading nations and sets the standard for modern trade,” Ms Trevelyan said.

“It has world leading provisions for digital services, as well as the world’s first dedicated innovation chapter to ensure that we lead the way in the industries of the future.

“This agreement deepens the bonds between our people by making it easier for them to live and work in each other’s countries, helping us to share more ideas and talent.”

Under the deal, the age limit of working holiday visa holders will be increased from 30 to 35 for up to three years in each country.

About 75 per cent of two-way trade will be covered by free trade agreements.

The deal comes after Australia, the UK and the US signed up to AUKUS to solidify a tripartite defence agreement.

Minister for Trade Dan Tehan
Camera IconTrade Minister Dan Tehan. Credit: AAP

The three countries will share defence intelligence and technology under the deal including Australia getting access to nuclear submarines.

It will also boost Australia’s wine industry, with more than $40 million of tariffs removed for bottles entering Britain.

About $725 million worth of farming products including beef, sugar and dairy will not have a duty imposed.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the deal would provide new and diversified trade opportunities for Australian farmers and agricultural exporters.

“This agreement will open up new and enhanced market access for our beef, sheep meat, wine, sugar, dairy, grains, horticulture and seafood exports once it enters into force,” he said.

“The UK is a high value market and the reduced trade barriers will provide more opportunity for Australia to export premium products and provide UK consumers with increased choice.

“It will contribute to Australia’s post-COVID recovery and provide a boost to Australia’s economy, including delivering more jobs and business opportunities, particularly in rural and regional Australia.”

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