Last reviewed 22 June 2021
A summary of the recent trade agreements made between other countries and the UK.
The main elements of a trade deal with Australia were agreed on 14June when Boris Johnson met the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Agreement in Principle has now been published. It is the first big post-Brexit trade agreement that is not a “rollover” of an agreement that the UK was a party to as an EU member. UK-Australia trade was worth £13.9 billion last year and is set to grow under the deal creating opportunities for businesses and producers all over the UK.
The main elements of the deal include the following.
Tariff-free trade. British products such as cars, Scotch whisky, biscuits and ceramics will be cheaper to sell into Australia boosting those industries. In return, tariffs on Australian wine, swimwear and confectionery will be eliminated benefitting British consumers. British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards.
Britons under the age of 35 will be able to travel and work in Australia more freely. The deal will help facilitate the recognition of UK professional qualifications across many sectors.
Enhanced access for British tech companies. The deal creates opportunities for the digital and tech sectors allowing UK companies to lead in industries such as AI, space exploration and low emissions technology. It also facilitates the free flow of data while maintaining personal data protections standards for British consumers.
Boost for UK services industries. The UK exported £5.4bn worth of services to Australia in 2020 or 56% of total exports to the country. The UK’s service sector will benefit substantially from increased access to each other’s markets and reduced barriers to investment.
Benefits for small businesses. Red tape and bureaucracy will be reduced to the benefit of the 13,000 small businesses already exporting to Australia.
Access to procurement contracts. British companies will be able to bid for additional Australian government contracts including in transport and financial services.
Co-operation on shared challenges. The deal will uphold high standards in areas like labour, animal welfare, gender equality and the environment and foster collaboration on issues such as climate change and unfair trading practices.
Joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Australia strongly supports UK membership of CPTPP, a trade agreement between 11 countries around the Pacific Rim. CPTPP countries accounted for £110 billion-worth of UK trade in 2019.
The Agreement in Principle will now be converted into legal text and signed by both parties. The parliamentary scrutiny process then begins. The text of the Agreement in Principle is available here.
New deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein
A new deal with these countries was agreed in principle on 4 June 2021 growing an economic relationship already worth £21.6 billion. It adds to the Agreement on Trade in Goods that is already in effect. It is the first time these three countries have included dedicated chapters on digital trade and small businesses in any trade deal. The deal includes the following.
Cutting-edge digital provisions will cut unnecessary paperwork and allow goods to move seamlessly across borders.
There are significant cuts to tariffs on exports of cheese, pork, poultry and other goods and reduced import tariffs on shrimps, prawns and haddock.
British businesses can bid for more government contracts in partner countries.
Caps on charges mobile operators are allowed to charge each other for international mobile roaming will be allowed.
Highly-skilled professionals can enter these countries for business with simpler visa processes and professional qualification recognition.
There are clearer rules for financial services firms so that they are not treated unfairly and there is an ambitious commitment to support investment.