Anew trade agreement between Australia and Britain will cement our credentials as two free-trading nations, will support our economic recovery from Covid-19 and will take our bilateral trade and investment relationship to the next level.
Australia’s deep and wide-ranging relationship with the United Kingdom is underpinned by our shared heritage, common values, people-to-people links, aligned strategic outlook and interests, sporting rivalries and trade and investment links. Brexit has strengthened our bilateral ties by allowing for a revitalisation of the relationship and a focus on new opportunities.
The UK is Australia’s fifth largest trading partner and second largest source of foreign investment. An ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement will help to take our relationship to a new level by facilitating increased trade in goods and services, two-way investment, economic growth and job creation in both countries. Our negotiations will result in new British export opportunities, including for exporters of whisky, biscuits, cars, cheese, apparel, ceramics and gin.
With the strong support of Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, I am confident that an announcement will be made around the time of the G7 summit in June by our prime ministers confirming that we are well on our way to finalising a new free trade agreement.
The agreement also will serve as a bedrock for the UK as it deepens its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region post-Brexit. Australia, as a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, welcomes Britain’s request to join this group of free-trading nations in the fastest-growing region in the world.
Australia and the UK are also committed to ensuring that a number of issues, outside the traditional scope of past trade agreements, are addressed in the agreement. These include an ambitious chapter on digital trade, as well as enhancing innovation co-operation to keep our economies at the cutting edge.
Since the launch of the negotiations in June 2020, substantial progress has been made. The UK and Australia are working hard to conclude a high-quality agreement as quickly as possible, without compromising on quality or ambition. With the strong support of Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, I am confident that an announcement will be made around the time of the G7 summit in June by our prime ministers confirming that we are well on our way to finalising a new free trade agreement.
I am excited to see the UK embracing the spirit of free trade that has underpinned Australia’s economic success over the past three decades. Our free trade agreement must embody that spirit. It also should be a signal to the world of how Australia and Britain intend to recover from Covid-19. Ultimately, this trade agreement should be the dawn of a new era of opportunity and prosperity between Australia and the UK.