The highly anticipated Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UK FTA) came into force on 31 May 2023. 1 The A-UK FTA is one of the most comprehensive and innovative free trade agreements Australia has signed to date, opening up a wealth of opportunities for Australian businesses and services entering the UK market.
This article highlights some of the key benefits delivered by the agreement.
Trade in goods
Under the A-UK FTA, Australian exporters now enjoy tariffs being removed on 99% of goods entering the UK.
Tariffs were eliminated immediately on entry into force for goods such as wine, short and medium-grain rice, honey and nuts. The same applied to most fruits and vegetables, seafood products, processed foods, and industrial goods such as auto parts, electrical equipment and fashion goods.
The agreement also established duty-free transitional quotas for agricultural products including beef, sheep meat, sugar and dairy – tariffs for these products will see staggered reduction and are expected to be eliminated entirely within 10 years.
Australian exporters can further benefit from improved customs procedures, which promote trade facilitation by boosting efficiency and reducing costs for traders.
Trade in services
The commitments to trade in services are wide and comprehensive. For service providers, key outcomes of the A-UK FTA include increased market access and a framework for non-discriminatory treatment, allowing Australian service suppliers to be on equal footing with their UK and global competitors.
The agreement also sees benefits for service professionals, such as those working in accountancy and auditing services, architectural services, engineering services, and legal services. Specifically, the agreement sets out provisions that encourage the mutual recognition of qualifications, and increased collaboration between Australian and UK accreditation and regulatory bodies.
Another important aspect of the A-UK FTA is the commitment to reduce digital trade barriers. This commitment is reflected in the new rules around free flows of data and digital business transactions (e.g. electronic contracts and electronic invoicing), allowing for easier ways to trade in the UK.
What does this mean for Australian businesses?
The Minister for Trade and Tourism has stated that the A-UK FTA will "significantly reduce costs for exporters and assist Australian businesses seeking to diversify trade to a wider range of overseas markets."
We encourage businesses to consider how to best take advantage of the benefits provided by the A-UK FTA, such as exploring any opportunities for growth or expansion into the UK market.
The team at Pointon Partners have extensive experience in assisting businesses with obtaining trade mark registration as well as other intellectual property protections in Australia and internationally.
1View the official text of the A-UK FTA here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.