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UK’s first post-Brexit trade deals to go live at midnight on Wednesday

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UK’s first post-Brexit trade deals to go live at midnight on Wednesday

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The UK's trade deals with Australia and New Zealand come into effect today.

  • Australia and New Zealand trade deals to enter into force at midnight on Wednesday
  • Special shipments of handpicked UK goods including signed Beano comics, personalised Cambridge Satchels, Brighton Gin and Burleigh pottery among very first to be sent under the new arrangements
  • Deals remove tariffs on all UK goods exports Down Under and could mean lower prices for UK consumers

From today [31 May], UK businesses will be able to sell to Australia and New Zealand more easily as the UK’s trade deals with the countries, the first negotiated from scratch since we left the EU, come into force.

Under the deals’ beneficial terms tariffs on all UK goods exports to Australia and New Zealand will be removed, unprecedented access to these markets for services unlocked, and red tape slashed for digital trade and work visas.

Each region and nation of the UK is expected to benefit. Tailored to the UK’s strengths, the deals are set to deliver an economic boost by driving bilateral trade up by 53% with Australia and 59% with New Zealand.

The agreements could also mean reduced prices for UK consumers on favourites such as wine, Tim Tams and kiwi fruit and lowered costs on machinery parts for UK manufacturers.

The announcement comes after the UK, Australia and New Zealand completed their domestic ratification processes, allowing the deals to enter into force. In the UK this required primary legislation in the form of the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

Today is a historic moment as our first trade deals to be negotiated post-Brexit come into effect.

Businesses up and down the country will now be able to reap the rewards of our status as an independent trading nation and seize new opportunities, driving economic growth, innovation and higher wages.

International Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston will tour DHL’s Southern Distribution Centre near Heathrow to see off two handpicked consignments of UK goods, some of the first to be sent to Australia and New Zealand under the new deals.

Iconic British goods from across the country including signed Beano comics, Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky, Brighton Gin,The Cambridge Satchel Co.bags and Fever-Tree mixers are all among the items which will be sent from the UK government to the Australian and New Zealand trade ministers. Many of the items included will benefit from the removal of tariffs under the deals.

The parcels will also include an England cricket top signed by James Anderson and Emma Lamb, a Wales rugby shirt signed by the men’s team and a real tennis racket from Gray’s of Cambridge.

Minister for International Trade, Nigel Huddleston, said:

It is incredibly exciting to be visiting DHL to see some of the first shipments leave the UK, knowing that when they arrive Down Under they will benefit from our brand new deals.

Australia and New Zealand are two of our closest friends and likeminded partners and our trade deals secure favourable terms for British exporters, removing tariffs on all UK goods and slashing red tape.

Alongside the new trade agreement with Australia, more young Brits will benefit from life-changing opportunities Down Under thanks to the expansion of our shared Youth Mobility and Working Holiday Maker visa schemes. On 1 July 2023 the age limit for UK applicants going to Australia will go from 30 to 35 years old, and from 1 July 2024 Brits will be able to stay in Australia for up to three years without having to meet specified work requirements.

The consignments will be sent via express air freight with DHL, which is accelerating to low carbon operations with a commitment to reach zero emissions logistics by 2050 globally. Moving more than 100,000 shipments per day for UK businesses, Australia, New Zealand and other CPTPP countries are popular markets, with expectations for continued growth.

CEO of DHL Express UK Ian Wilson said:

The new free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand provide businesses with a great opportunity to capitalise on the demand in these markets for British goods. We are delighted to have marked the commencement of these deals with a visit from the International Trade Minister to our site today, in which he had the chance to meet businesses and see the important role our colleagues play in the global economy.

Through our recent collaboration with the Department for Business and Trade, we have been able to explain the new deals through webinars and simplified guides which we hope will help our customers achieve even greater international growth.

Both free trade agreements are also part of the UK’s strategic tilt to the Indo-Pacific region and complement our accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a huge trade bloc which will have a total GDP of £12 trillion once we join.

The deals include robust protections for British farmers, including staging tariff liberalisation for sensitive goods over time.

Other key benefits of the deals include:

  • Access to Australian work visas for UK service suppliers without being subject to its changing skilled occupation list and enabling Brits to work in New Zealand more freely
  • Flexible rules of origin and removal of tariffs on all UK exports to both markets
  • Advanced rules on digital trade which cut red tape, unlock the free flow of data and give businesses confidence their valuable intellectual property will be protected
  • Access to government contracts and investment opportunities, including equal footing to compete for an additional £10 billion of Australian public sector contracts per year and high investment screening thresholds for New Zealand
  • Progressive opportunities to grow our low-carbon economy through liberalised tariffs on environmental goods and encouraging investment in low-carbon technology
  • Environment chapters reaffirming our commitments to the Paris Agreement and recognising our right to regulate to meet Net Zero

Founder and Managing Director of Brighton Gin Kathy Caton said:

In an increasingly competitive and global market removing trade barriers is exactly the support that the British gin industry needs. With a Brighton in every state in Australia, one of our goals is to see Brighton Gin being served in every one! Hopefully the free trade agreement gets us one step closer to that.

CEO of Frugalpac Malcolm Waugh said:

Frugalpac produces the world’s first paper bottle for wines and spirits and the machines that make them. Our Frugal Bottles, which are made from 94% recycled paperboard and have a carbon footprint six times lower than a glass bottle, are now sold in 22 countries including Australia and New Zealand.

The Department for Business and Trade has been hugely supportive of Frugalpac and these free trade agreements will boost our plans to export machines to help the Australian and New Zealand drinks industry to further decarbonise.

The Department for Business and Trade is working with firms of all sizes from across the country to explain how they can harness these trade agreements to grow their business. Dedicated resources are available to help businesses every step of the way as they seize these new opportunities.

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