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A-UK FTA: A quality outcome with a long-term partner

15 June 2021

The Australian red meat industry today welcomed the announcement in London by Prime Ministers Morrison and Johnson of agreement in-principle regarding the parameters of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UK FTA).

The agreement will see Australian beef and sheepmeat access to the UK liberalised over a 10 year transition period.

This outcome not only enhances the long-term partnership between the British meat trade, British consumers and the Australian red meat industry, but also signals a strong commitment by both Governments to the merits of delivering free trade.

The deal is also the first "new" bilateral agreement to be agreed following the UK's departure from the European Union (EU).

"The UK and Australia have a long, shared history, both culturally and commercially," said Andrew McDonald, Chair of the Australia-UK Red Meat Market Access Taskforce.

"For Australian red meat producers, processors and exporters, this has meant working with UK importers and distributers to supply high quality Australian red meat products to meet discerning British customer demand.

"Back in the 1950's the UK was one of Australia's steadfast export customers. A lot has changed since then, as red meat markets have evolved and we have responded to strong demand in markets closer to home. Despite this, the UK has remained a loyal purchaser of Australian beef and sheepmeat, albeit in small volumes.

"Australia and the UK have shared values when it comes to the production of high-quality red meat. While our ability to service the market has previously been constrained by a highly restrictive UK (and prior to 2021, European Union) import regime, the A-UK FTA will facilitate an easier response to British consumers seeking to "buy Aussie" - should they wish to do so.

"The securing of this phase of the A-UK FTA signals a new chapter in our bilateral relations and an opportunity for us to work collaboratively for years to come.

The deal, once signed and ratified, will result in Australian beef and sheepmeat/goat meat exports entering the UK under a tariff rate quota (TRQ) regime – with initial TRQ tonnages gradually increasing over the 10 year transition period, whilst the above quota tariff will be retained. Product within the TRQ amounts will enter tariff free. Whilst there will be no TRQ regime post year 10, a volume safeguard provision will apply to the end of year 15, beyond which no safeguards will apply.

"We'd like to thank Trade Minister Dan Tehan, Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss and their respective negotiating teams for their tireless work in achieving this momentous outcome."