Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement signed and sealed but yet to be delivered

With the final deal signed off today, when it comes into force during the course of 2022 the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) holds out great hope that it will provide farmers and agricultural exporters with new and diversified trade opportunities.

It is expected the 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.

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

The agreement is the most comprehensive free trade agreement Australia has signed with any trading partner apart from New Zealand.

It is expected to will contribute to our post-COVID recovery and provide a boost to the local economy, including delivering more jobs and business opportunities, particularly in rural and regional areas.

Under the terms of the new agreement, there will be immediate new market diversification opportunities and reduced trade costs for many sectors, including wine, seafood, rice and horticulture.

New commercially significant up-front quotas for beef, sheep meat, sugar and dairy can also provide immediate benefits for farmers, once the agreement gets underway.

The FTA will also cover a variety of measures critical for the further development of Australian agriculture, including improved investment arrangements and enhanced trade in manufactured goods and services.

It also establishes closer cooperation on biosecurity, animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance that will not impact Australia’s standards or right to regulate in these critical areas.

The FTA will also facilitate agricultural labour mobility between the UK and Australia providing new opportunities to support the exchange of skilled labour.

Yet to get into stride the new Australia-UK FTA

·         Australia’s agricultural trade with the UK in 2020-21 was worth $823 million with key exports including wine ($514m), lamb and mutton ($77m), beef and veal ($11m), pulses ($15m), wool ($8m) and nuts ($7m)

·         Total exports to the UK were at an all-time high in 2020-2021. Australian agriculture, forestry and fisheries exports to the UK increased by $182m from the previous year ($641m to $823m).

·         The complete elimination of tariffs on all agricultural goods within ten years will provide opportunities for continued strong growth of Australian exports into the future.