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Liz Truss kick-starts UK trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand

Christian Fernsby |
The UK has published its negotiating objectives for free trade agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand, with talks for each agreement beginning shortly.

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The UK, Australia and New Zealand are already important economic partners. UK businesses traded a significant £21bn worth of goods and services in total with both countries last year.

Drinks companies, the automotive industry and professional services firms are among those expected to benefit from removing barriers to trade with Australia and New Zealand.

Government analysis published today shows that the value of UK exports to the two countries could increase by around £1 billion as a result of the deals. Expanding free and open trade in this way is essential to helping businesses and the whole of the UK overcome the economic challenge of Coronavirus.

Trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand will help boost our economic recovery by opening up new markets for businesses, creating jobs and supporting a range of industries across the UK. In the long term, UK workers’ wages could increase by £400m and £200m respectively, while consumers are expected to benefit from a greater choice of goods and lower prices.

Opportunities for UK businesses include additional access for UK services and investment, the removal of tariffs and other barriers to trade, and the chance to shape the future of digital trade.

Both agreements will include chapters on digital trade to maximise opportunities for businesses to trade digitally. They will also include dedicated SME chapters to help more small businesses to sell their goods and services to Australia and New Zealand for the first time.

These talks are also a logical step towards membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one of the world’s largest free trade areas accounting for 13% of global GDP in 2018.

The Government has today reaffirmed its interest in joining the group and is stepping up engagement with its members. UK membership would increase and diversify the UK’s £110 billion trade relationship with its members and create opportunities in the world’s most dynamic economies. Both Australia and New Zealand support the UK joining CPTPP, and trade agreements with them could facilitate the UK’s accession.

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