The United Kingdom and Australia have signed a major free trade agreement

Dec. 2021 at 14:12

This is a “historic” agreement, the first agreement reached by London since leaving the EU, and not a renewal or adaptation of what exists between the EU and other countries. The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement, announced in June, was signed on Thursday, opening the door to the Asia-Pacific region in London.

The text, submitted to a study by British MPs, reads, “10.4 billion extra pounds to create trade. […] By eliminating fees over 100% [leurs] Export ”.

Trade between the two countries in 2020 is 13.9 billion, which is only 1% of total UK trade. In 2019, the UK was Australia’s fifth largest trading partner.

Work visas in Australia

The agreement underscores the British government as “creating new jobs and travel opportunities for British and Australians”. British professionals in the service sector, including architects, lawyers or researchers, will have access to work visas in Australia. “This is more than Australia has given to any other country in the Free Trade Agreement,” the Department of International Trade said.

The agreement should also make it possible to repeal the 20% tax on Australian beef exports. This component has raised concerns among British farmers who fear competition for Australian meat, cheaper and more flexible health standards. To reassure breeders, the text provides for a limit on imports to British soil for fifteen years without tariffs, especially through quotas, the British government said in June. However, the latter did not provide details about the agricultural component when signing the contract.

Victory for Brexit support

The deal was a victory for Boris Johnson, who called for him to leave the EU, pledged that the UK would have more economic power to go it alone, and spoke of his concept of a ‘global Britain’. London thus welcomes the text “Made to Fit the British Economy”, especially in areas where the country is “a world leader in technology and digital.” The United Kingdom hopes the agreement will open the door to the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement (CPTPP), which unites eleven countries in Asia and the United States.

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Environmental NGOs do not see the agreement in the same light. Greenpeace estimates that this will be “not only one of the worst effects of climate change, but also of one country being one of the major global centers of deforestation.” This would challenge London’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

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