Beano makes trip down under in new trade deal
Copies of the Beano signed by editor John Anderson and a Flying Scotsman train set from Hornby Hobbies were among a consignment of British goods sent to Australia and New Zealand under new trade deals.
The agreements, effective from today, are the first negotiated after Brexit to come into force and the UK government is promising easier and more fruitful trading.
Tariffs on all UK goods exports to Australia and New Zealand will be removed, access to these markets for services unlocked and red tape slashed for digital trade and work visas.
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.”
The government says each region and nation of the UK will benefit, driving bilateral trade up by 53% with Australia and 59% with New Zealand.
The agreements could also mean reduced prices for Scottish consumers on favourites such as wine, Tim Tams and kiwi fruit and lowered costs on machinery parts for UK manufacturers
Alongside the new trade agreement with Australia, more young Brits will benefit from the expansion of the 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.
Both free trade agreements are 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 UK government says the deals include “robust protections” for British farmers, including staging tariff liberalisation for sensitive goods over time.
However, UK farming groups are among those who have raised concerns about the deal, notably for Australian and New Zealand imports flooding the UK market.
Scottish Government Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has called on UK Ministers to listen to the devolved governments when negotiating future trade deals.
“These trade deals are not good enough for Scotland’s producers – they have been rushed through and the UK Government’s own economic modelling shows that the agri-food sector will lose out,” she said.
“These agreements will provide Australian and New Zealand exporters with unfettered access to the UK market, which could allow an influx of goods, often produced to lower cost and regulatory standards, and which could undercut our domestic agri-food producers.
“By contrast, the EU has secured advantageous terms for the agri-food sector in their trade deal with New Zealand, securing more protective tariff rate quotas and coverage from day one, of over 2000 food and drink products from the EU Geographical Indicator scheme.
“Frustratingly, neither the Scottish Government nor its economic agencies have been involved in the preparation for implementation of these trade deals. Fundamental questions persist regarding the sufficiency of UK Government led training and funding for exporters. This will be vital if exporters are to leverage any advantage possible from these trade deals.
“The UK Government’s approach to Brexit continues to undermine devolution and reneges on promises made ahead of the EU referendum.
“Going forward it is imperative that UK Ministers work constructively with Ministers from the devolved governments and industry to ensure that our agri-food producers are better protected in future trade deals.”
Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake, the party’s agriculture spokesman in Westminster, said trade deals mark the “beginning of a worrying chapter” for Welsh farming.
Key changes 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