A new trade deal between the UK and Australia could be a boost for the quest to achieve ‘net zero’.
The first ‘from scratch’ trade agreement since leaving the EU was signed in a virtual ceremony by International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan this morning and will now be laid in the UK Parliament for a period of scrutiny.
It claims to set new global standards in digital and services, while creating new work and travel opportunities for Brits and Australians.
Dan McGrail, CEO of not-for-profit renewable energy trade association RenewableUK, said the deal was good news for the nations’ respective ‘net zero’ carbon goals.
“Australia has the potential to be a clean energy powerhouse, able to provide all its electricity needs using just 1% of its offshore wind potential,” he said.
“This free trade agreement will make it easier for UK and Australian companies to export green technologies and expertise, speeding up the transition of both countries to our net zero goals.
“We look forward to seeing even more UK companies out in Australia, ensuring they maximise all the economic benefits we’ve seen flow from our low-cost wind energy and green hydrogen developments.”
According to the UK government, the deal will unlock £10.4 billion of additional trade, boosting the economy, increasing wages and eliminating tariffs on most UK exports.
Little detail is available yet on the ‘cutting-edge agreement’ in digital and technology.
“Our UK-Australia trade deal is a landmark moment in the historic and vital relationship between our two commonwealth nations,” said Trevelyan.
“This agreement is tailored to the UK’s strengths, and delivers for businesses, families, and consumers in every part of the UK – helping us to level up.
“We will continue to work together in addressing shared challenges in global trade, climate change and technological changes in the years ahead.”
The deal claims to make it easier for UK investors to enter the Australian market; gives UK and Australian firms guaranteed access to each other’s government procurement markets; allow young people to work and travel in Australia for up to three years at a time, removing previous visa conditions; remove the need for UK service suppliers – including architects, scientists, researchers, lawyers and accountants – to be made subject to Australia’s skilled occupation list when applying for visas; and give UK businesses and professionals access to Australia in terms of the movement of personnel, bidding for and accepting new contracts, and advertising their services in the country.
The deal is also a gateway into the fast-growing Indo-Pacific region and will boost the UK’s bid to join CPTPP, one of the largest free trade areas in the world, covering £8.4 trillion of GDP and 11 Pacific nations from Australia to Mexico.
British High Commissioner to Australia HE Vicki Treadell said: “This Free Trade Agreement is a world-class partnership that helps Australians access the best of British high-quality goods and services, British companies to realise even greater opportunity in Australia and shows that Britain is open for business.
“The mobility elements further strengthen our existing connections and ensures that talent exchange will be even easier to achieve.
“I look forward to working with our Australian friends to take this ambitious agreement forward as we realise the incredible opportunities now available to both our nations.”