Anthony Albanese has hailed the royal assent of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as an “unparalleled opportunity” to deepen trade with one of the top five economies in the world.
The FTA will give Australian exporters better access to the UK’s government procurement market annually worth an estimated half a trillion dollars.
According to the federal government, by removing tariffs on more than 99% of the $9.2 billion Australian goods sent to the UK each year, the deal will reset access to the UK market for exporters.
In a statement, the prime minister said Australian exporters were operating in an increasingly contested and unpredictable environment. The Australia-UK FTA would certainly help achieve this in the current climate, he said.
“The Australian government is determined to create more jobs in export industries and lower prices for Australian businesses and consumers,” Albanese said.
Under the FTA, Australia’s Indigenous Procurement Policy will continue to benefit First Nations-owned businesses. Commitments to advance the commercial interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are included in the deal, including royalties to be paid to First Nations artists where their artworks are resold in the UK.
The UK parliament approved the trade deal on Friday with royal assent meaning both nations can bring the FTA into force as soon as possible. It is the first new trade deal the country has signed off since Brexit three years ago.
Officials will announce a commencement date once the UK process is complete and both countries exchange diplomatic notes.
Trade minister Don Farrell said the FTA coming into force would also revitalise local manufacturing.
“We want Australian exporters, businesses, workers and consumers to reap the opportunities and benefits of more open trade with the United Kingdom.
“Our economy is stronger when global trade flows freely and the Australian government is delivering on our commitment to strengthen and diversify our trading relationships,” Farrell said.
Among the benefits of the pending FTA, the Australian government said the “gold-standard” agreement expanded existing bilateral agreements on gender and the environment with new cooperation commitments.
The deal will also give Australian professionals access to the UK jobs market with more opportunities for intra-company transfers and for working holidaymakers.
The deal does not include Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions.
“This trade agreement will remove unnecessary barriers to trade between our two countries and open up new markets for our world-class goods and services,” Farrell said.