Since June 2020, there has been a strengthening call to finalise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia. One year later, Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson have agreed “in principle” on the terms of a deal.
This marks the UK’s first independent trade deal post-Brexit and many are suggesting this is a step towards righting “historical wrongs” against Australia.
Australia and the UK had a strong bilateral trade relationship in the 19th and early 20th century, however from the 1970s onwards, the UK started to shift its attention towards European markets.
Australia was not a desirable market for European importers initially, predominantly due to distance and socialist European agricultural policies which made it unfeasible for Australian producers to enter the market. This shift ultimately turned Australia towards the US and Asian markets.
Throughout these negotiations Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been clear that Australia’s focus is to improve market access for Australian agricultural products by eliminating taxes, tariffs and quotas imposed on traded goods.
Though the finer details won’t be known for some time, it appears tariffs and quotas for most farm exports into the UK will be eased over the next
Luckily for Australia, this represents one of the UK’s first forays into an independent trade deal post-Brexit, and it is unlikely the UK government will walk away from an opportunity to reinforce that the decision to move away from the European Union was correct.
Author: Harriet Adcock (Lawyer)