Britain is Australia’s eighth-largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth US$20.7 billion
Britain and Australia have agreed a trade deal after talks between their prime ministers ironed out outstanding issues, Australian Minister for Trade Dan Tehan said on Tuesday.
It will be the first trade deal by the UK with any country since Brexit. This comes as the UK seeks to expand commercial ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson overcame sticking points during talks after the G7 meeting in the UK over the weekend. The meet included Morrison as a guest.
Both prime ministers have held a positive meeting in London overnight and have resolved outstanding issues in relation to the trade pact, Tehan said in a statement.
Britain is Australia’s eighth-largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth US$20.7 billion. Britain was Australia’s most lucrative trading market prior to Britain joining the then European common market in 1973.
A formal announcement would be made later on Tuesday, Tehan said.
The deal will be keenly scrutinised by British farmers, who fear they could be forced out of business if the deal eliminates tariffs on lamb and beef imports from Australia.
Australian Minister for Trade David Littleproud declined to reveal details but said Australian farmers would benefit from the deal.
Overall, this is going to be a great win for Australian agriculture, Littleproud told 4BC Radio.
According to some official estimates, the agreement could add 500 million pounds (US$705.7 million) to British economic output over the long term.
However, in case of Australia, analysts questioned the importance of the deal for a country already focussed on Asia.
This free trade agreement is more about symbolism than immediately tangible material benefits, said Ben Wellings, senior lecturer in politics and international relations at Monash University.