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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Inking of deal positive for future partnership

17 December 2021

The virtual signing of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UK FTA) by Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan and the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan today has been met with strong support by Australian red meat industry representatives.

The terms of the A-UK FTA, which were agreed in principle by Prime Ministers Morrison and Johnson in June 2021, will see Australian beef and sheepmeat/goatmeat access to the UK liberalised over a transition period.

For Australian red meat producers and exporters, this will mean that Australia will be better placed to help supply some of the UK’s import requirement for high-quality beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat.

“The inking of the FTA solidifies an already close partnership between the two countries,” said Andrew McDonald, chair of the Australia-UK Red Meat Market Access Taskforce.

“Australia and the UK have a long history of trade, with the UK being a loyal purchaser of Australian beef and sheepmeat, albeit in small volumes.

“Under the A-UK FTA, future trade will be more streamlined, removing burdensome costs from the red meat supply chain that ultimately disadvantage British consumers and stifle opportunities for market development.

“The FTA also represents an opportunity for Australian and British exporters to further diversify their markets and demonstrates both countries commitment to rules-based, open trade.

The deal, once ratified, will result in Australian beef and sheepmeat exports entering the UK under a tariff rate quota (TRQ) regime – with initial TRQ tonnages gradually increasing over a 10 year transition period. 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 until the end of year 15, beyond which no safeguards will apply.

"Our gratitude is extended to Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan, UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan and their respective negotiating teams for their dedication to achieving this momentous outcome.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Minister Tehan and his team in seeking to expedite ratification of the agreement and thereby securing timely entry into force in 2022,” Mr McDonald said.