LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Tuesday announced a major free trade deal with Australia as London continues efforts to strike new deals with the countries since leaving the European Union.
It follows similar British trade deals with Japan and the European Union following London’s divorce from Brussels.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the latest agreement “marks a new dawn in UK relations with Australia, underpinned by (…) a shared history and common values”.
“This is global Britain at its best – looking outward and making deals that deepen our alliances and help ensure every part of the country rebuilds better after the pandemic,” he added in a statement.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Twitter that the deal is “an important stepping stone” in efforts to join a massive free trade area in the Indo-Pacific region – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership .
The UK government added that the deal eliminates tariffs on all UK products “in the first major trade deal negotiated from scratch” since the country left the EU.
A final “agreement in principle” will be published in the coming days, he added.
The UK’s trade relationship with Australia was worth Â£ 13.9 billion (US $ 19.4 billion) last year and is expected to grow under the deal, according to the communicated.
The two countries plan to “step up cooperation on security, climate change and science and technology,” the UK government said.
The deal eliminates tariffs on imported Australian products such as wine, swimwear and confectionery, he said.
In the other direction, British goods including cars, Scotch whiskey, cookies and ceramics will be cheaper to sell in Australia.
It comes after the two countries addressed the issues surrounding the agricultural sector.
UK farmers will be protected by a cap on duty-free imports for 15 years, using tariff quotas and other guarantees.
“We are also helping agricultural producers to increase their exports abroad, including to new markets in the Indo-Pacific,” the UK said.
Agreement with Australia – the former British colony halfway around the world – seen as a fruit in hand ahead of more difficult free trade negotiations with the United States and other great powers economic.
Britain announced earlier this month a free trade deal with three non-EU European countries – the main fishing neighbor, Norway, as well as Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Yet the UK finds itself caught up in a dispute with France, a major EU member, over post-Brexit trade deals in Northern Ireland.
Brussels is angry at London’s refusal to put in place controls on goods entering Northern Ireland from England, Scotland and Wales.
The European Union threatens retaliation if Britain unilaterally extends a grace period for trade in chilled meat, including sausages, next month.
The Northern Ireland protocol, signed separately from the Brexit trade deal reached in December, is supposed to provide for controls on goods entering the province from mainland Britain.
The deal effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the European customs union and the single market that the UK left in January, to prevent uncontrolled goods from going into the bloc via the neighboring state of the United Kingdom. EU, Ireland.