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Boris Johnson hails ‘new dawn’ as UK and Australia agree free trade deal

Written by on 15th June 2021

The UK and Australia have agreed a free trade deal, the first agreement negotiated from scratch after Brexit.

Boris Johnson said the tariff-free deal, which Downing Street said will see British cars, Scotch whisky and biscuits and ceramics become cheaper to sell, marked a “new dawn in the UK’s relationship with Australia, underpinned by our shared history and common values”.

The prime minister added: “Our new free-trade agreement opens fantastic opportunities for British businesses and consumers, as well as young people wanting the chance to work and live on the other side of the world.

“This is global Britain at its best – looking outwards and striking deals that deepen our alliances and help ensure every part of the country builds back better from the pandemic.”

In a statement setting out the benefits of the agreement, the government said it will help distillers by scrapping tariffs of up to 5% on Scotch whisky, while car manufacturers in the Midlands and the North of England will see tariffs of up to 5% cut.

Number 10 said more than 450 businesses in Wales exported to Australia last year and stand to benefit, while “life science companies and chemicals manufacturers are set to benefit in particular”.

It said that in Northern Ireland, 90% of all exports to Australia are “machinery and manufacturing goods used extensively in Australia’s mining, quarrying and recycling sectors”, and under the deal tariffs will be removed and customs procedures “simplified”.

There was understood to be division among ministers over the terms of the deal last month, with some concerned a tariff and quota free agreement could leave British farmers struggling to compete.
Farming groups had warned that a proposed free trade deal with Australia could imperil livelihoods.
In a bid to allay those fears, Downing Street said that under the deal British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, with other “safeguards” to protect them.

Meanwhile, the government said that the deal will allow Britons under the age of 35 to travel and work in Australia more freely.