BREXIT BONANZA: Boris was right as new figures show ‘bonzer’ results from UK-Australia free trade deal

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In 2021 Boris Johnson said the tariff-free deal would mark a "new dawn" in the UK's relationship with Australia. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

“It is a perfect example of what Britain can achieve as an independent trading nation, able to strike deals around the world and bring the benefits of free and fair trade back to these shores.”

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal the UK’s trade deal with Australia is already paying huge dividends.

The UK and Australia free trade agreement (FTA) is understood to have been agreed over dinner between then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2021.

The deal came into effect at midnight on 31 May 2023 and was the first agreement negotiated from scratch after Brexit.

At the time Boris said:  

“Our new free-trade agreement opens fantastic opportunities for British businesses and consumers, as well as young people wanting the chance to work and live on the other side of the world.

“This is global Britain at its best – looking outwards and striking deals that deepen our alliances and help ensure every part of the country builds back better from the pandemic.”

In just the first year, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show sectors such as furniture exports to Australia already recording growth as high as 200 percent.

The deal has removed tariffs on £4.3 billion of exports, making it cheaper to sell iconic British products like cars, Scotch whisky and ceramics into Australia – supporting industries that employ 3.5 million people in the UK. Car makers in the Midlands and the North of England say they are already seeing the benefit.

The elimination of tariffs on Australian favourites like Jacob’s Creek and Hardys wines, Tim Tams and Vegemite are also already boosting choice for British consumers and saving British households up to £34 million a year. UK manufacturers are also benefiting from cheaper imports of vital parts and ingredients from Australia.

The new figures show the top 20 gains include furniture exports (up 200%), car sales (up 119%), ships (up 107%), road vehicles other than cars (up 84%) and railway equipment exports (up 75.5%).

Credit: Facts4EU

According to the Department for Business and Trade, total trade in goods and services between the UK and Australia was worth £19.5 billion last year, an increase of 17.8 percent.

Minister for Trade Policy Greg Hands told David Maddox at the Express:

“It’s fantastic to see UK exports such as cars and road vehicles increase Down Under which will come as welcome news for our excellent automotive industry.

“Our historic trade deal with Australia is the first from-scratch deal to be negotiated since Brexit. It is a perfect example of what Britain can achieve as an independent trading nation, able to strike deals around the world and bring the benefits of free and fair trade back to these shores.”

British companies are also now able to bid for additional Australian government contracts worth billions of pounds. It is the most substantial level of access Australia has ever granted in a free trade agreement, creating new opportunities for UK firms including in transport and financial services, building on the success of companies like Leeds-headquartered Turner & Townsend, who have project managed some of Australia’s biggest public transport infrastructure programmes.

Marco Forgione, director-general at the Institute of Export and International Trade added:

“This dramatic growth in trade between UK and Australia is very tangible proof that removing trade barriers and committing to free trade creates opportunities for businesses, delivers economic growth and helps communities to thrive.

“All the evidence shows that businesses which trade cross borders are more sustainable, more resilient, employ more people, are more innovative and more profitable.”

1 COMMENT

  1. “making it cheaper to sell iconic British products like cars”

    Apart from some luxury brands, are not all the car factories owned by foreigners?

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