Home » What is the The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement?

What is the The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement?

Enhanced access for professional services firms in areas such as financial, legal and shipping, as well as easier business travel and digital trade and a major new market for telecoms and cyber-security, are among the key benefits for UK businesses looking to expand their international horizons in Australia.

Once the new trade deal enters into force, British firms will have legally guaranteed access to valuable Australian government procurement contracts, for example in transport and IT. The deal secures the free flow of data necessary for British companies looking to provide many modern products and services to Australia, while new provisions on electronic contracts and signatures will make it easier for them to conduct business online.

British businesses selling goods to Australia will also be able to benefit from zero tariffs on all UK exports, making it cheaper to sell products into the market. Flexible rules of origin will also mean that UK businesses can use some imported parts and ingredients and still qualify for the new zero-per-cent tariffs. It will also be quicker to trade with the market, as customs authorities will release all goods within 48 hours, providing requirements have been met, with fast-track parcels and perishable goods like food being released within six hours.

As Australia heads towards becoming a top-10 global economy by 2050, UK consumers could enjoy cheaper and more plentiful access to much-loved Aussie products such as Jacob’s Creek wines Tim Tam biscuits and surfboards.

Separately to the deal, the UK and Australia have signed a memorandum of understanding which will soon enable Britons aged 18 to 35 to travel and work in Australia for up to three years – and they will no longer have to work on a farm to stay for these longer periods. Australia will also pilot a new visa scheme for UK citizens, allowing early career workplace exchanges of up to one year for graduates between 21 and 45.

With the first ever dedicated innovation chapter of any FTA in the world, this deal will support emerging trade opportunities and innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Some 13,900 UK SMEs employing hundreds of thousands of British workers already successfully trade with Australia.

That number could increase as the new FTA, specifically negotiated to play to the UK’s strengths in key areas such as professional services and digitalisation, begins to kick in.

When it comes to exporting goods to Australia, one early adopter is the luxury golfing trolley firm Stewart Golf, which has been trading with the country for the past 20 years.




Import, export: UK businesses are already reaping the rewards of trading with Australia


Credit: Getty

“Australia was one of our first export markets and, having recently signed with a new distribution partner, we have high hopes that it could become one of our best,” says Mark Stewart, the firm’s owner.

“I believe that ‘Brand Britain’ is an important mark of quality that resonates with most export markets, and with this new agreement removing another barrier and even providing an advantage over imports from non-FTA countries, there is everything to play for.”

His advice to other UK SMEs looking to follow his path is to use the relaxed freedoms around business travel to research opportunities, identify key players in the relevant market and take advantage of the “huge amount of free advice, networking and support” on offer from the Department for Business and Trade.

For the food, drink, clothing and beauty brand The Black Farmer, the country offers enormous potential for future growth. “As a black British brand, I’m aiming to first intrigue consumers with our story before bowling them over with the distinctive taste profile of our food,” says company founder Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones.

“Having travelled around the country in a previous life, I know that authenticity is very important to Australians, as is the desire to constantly try out new things.”

Emmanuel-Jones, who is travelling to the country soon, plans to establish strong awareness of his brand among independent retailers before embarking on a nationwide sales drive.

This British SME and thousands of others, as well as larger businesses, are poised to enjoy a new world of trading opportunities between the UK and Australia, and once the FTA comes into force, these opportunities look set to be a game-changer.

Sell to the world

Now is an exciting time for your business to sell to international markets such as Australia. new markets. The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) provides a wide range of free support, wherever you are on your exporting journey.

Find out how DBT can help your business sell to the world at great.gov.uk