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Historic deal agreed in-principle with United Kingdom

28 June 2021

The Australian red meat industry’s European market access priorities have received a real boost in the last fortnight with the agreement in-principle (AIP) of an Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UK FTA). The virtual eleventh round of Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement (A-EU FTA) negotiations have also concluded.

Prime Ministers Morrison and Johnson met in London on 15 June and provided details of the parameters of the A-UK FTA, which sees Australian beef and sheepmeat access to the UK liberalised over a 10-year transition period.

The deal, once signed and ratified, will result in Australian beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat exports entering the UK under a tariff rate quota (TRQ) regime – with initial TRQ tonnages gradually increasing over the 10-year transition period, while the above quota tariff will be initially retained before being eliminated. Product within the TRQ amounts will enter tariff free. While 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.

“The UK and Australia have a long, shared history, both culturally and commercially, in the red meat trade and beyond,” said Andrew McDonald, Chair of the Australia-UK and EU 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.

“We’re really pleased to see the negotiations move forward via this in principle outcome. It will ultimately enhance our existing long-term partnerships in the market, fostering a trading environment that benefits the British meat trade, British consumers and the Australian red meat industry.

Over the Channel, virtual A-EU FTA negotiations continue, with the eleventh round held in early June. The industry’s Taskforce is working towards securing access arrangements that are beneficial for the Australian red meat supply chain and European consumers.

“It’s encouraging to see A-EU FTA negotiations continuing in a virtual format and reports of the eleventh round indicate that substantive progress was made, building on face-to-face engagement with Australian Minister for Trade, Dan Tehan, and EU Trade Commissioner Dombrovskis in April,” Mr McDonald said.

“Minister Tehan has been steadfast in his support to deliver trade reform and enhance opportunities for industry market diversification.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Minister Tehan and the Australian negotiating team as the A-UK FTA negotiations progress and the subsequent signing, ratification and entry into force phases occur, as well as close involvement in the ongoing A-EU FTA negotiations.”

*The Taskforce is the Australian red meat industry’s steering committee, comprising representatives from the red meat supply chain, responsible for guiding and driving improvements in beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat market access to both the EU and UK.