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UK signs trade pact with Australia, its first from scratch since leaving EU

UK Secretary of State Anne-Marie Trevelyan with Australian Minister Dan Tehan. Photo: UK government

London, Dec 17 (MNN) The UK has signed a historic trade agreement with Australia, its first from scratch since leaving the European Union which the government said set new global standards in digital and services and created new work and travel opportunities for Brits and Aussies.

The deal was agreed in principle by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in London in June. Negotiators have now finalised all chapters of the agreement.

The final deal was signed in a virtual ceremony by International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan on Thursday night (local time), and will now be laid in Parliament for a period of scrutiny.

The deal is expected to unlock 10.4 billion pounds of additional trade, boosting our economy and increasing wages across the UK, while eliminating tariffs on 100 per cent of UK exports.

The government said the deal is tailored to the UK economy, with cutting-edge agreements in areas where Britain is a world leader, including in digital and tech, along with increased access to Australia for the UK’s powerhouse service sectors.

This agreement will help create new opportunities for businesses in both the UK and Australia:

It gives UK firms guaranteed access to bid for an additional 10 billion pounds worth of Australian public sector contracts per year, the Johnson government said.

It will also allow young people to work and travel in Australia for up to three years at a time, removing previous visa conditions.

For the first time UK service suppliers including architects, scientists, researchers, lawyers and accountants will have access to visas to work in Australia without being subject to Australia’s changing skilled occupation list.

This is more than Australia has ever offered any other country in a free trade agreement.

The deal removes tariffs on all UK exports, making it cheaper to sell iconic products like cars, Scotch whisky and UK fashion to Australia, while making Australian favourites like Jacob’s Creek and Hardys wines, Tim Tams and surfboards more accessible for British consumers.

The deal is also a gateway into the fast-growing Indo-Pacific region and will boost our bid to join CPTPP, one of the largest free trade areas in the world, covering 8.4 trillion pounds of GDP and 11 Pacific nations from Australia to Mexico.

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