Potential benefits of an Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement

UK AUS flags podium

The UK left the EU on 3 January 2020. The remainder of 2020 is a transition period during which the Withdrawal Agreement is being implemented and new arrangements negotiated. The UK’s Global Tariff (UKGT), published on 19 May, will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021.

Apart from the UK-EU negotiations about future bilateral relations, the UK began trade negotiations with the USA on 5 May, with Japan on 9 June and with Australia and New Zealand on 17 June. The UK government also expressed interest in agreements with other countries and in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in which Australia already participates.

The many differences between the UKGT and the EU tariff highlight the need for countries to reconsider their trade relations with the UK, especially if they were party to EU agreements that will cease to apply to UK trade after 2020. The US negotiations are driven only to a very limited extent by tariff and other traditional issues and are more concerned about access to the UK market for chlorinated chicken or genetically modified farm products that are banned under EU rules. The UK-Japan negotiations are about modifying application of the EU-Japan trade agreement, with Japan looking to scrap UK auto tariffs while London seeks benefits for its financial services sector. The proposed UK-Australia trade agreement was announced, with emphasis on facilitating trade and investment, as well as professional services, and improved access for agricultural products.


Discussion panel 

Tagged in World Trade System, Events, Australia, Preferential Trade Agreements