Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has confirmed that round two of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations took place between Monday 21 September 2020 and Friday 2 October 2020. 

The UK continues to signal its ambition to negotiate a deal with Australia that allows for increased bilateral trade and set high standards for future FTAs. The FTA stands to support global trade and nothing less than the countries’ mutual economic recovery post-COVID-19. 

The wide-ranging agreement aims to deliver substantive outcomes in the form of better jobs, higher wages, and lower prices just when they are needed most. You can read in more detail about the UK’s approach to the UK-Australia FTA here.

For its part, the Australian High Commission in the UK has launched a new website (see here) showcasing the opportunities and potential benefits of the FTA for both private and public sector organisations.

The Governments of both countries are clearly committed to concluding a comprehensive agreement and we look forward to learning of their further progress in the next round of negotiations.

Kepdowrie Chambers has assisted hundreds of UK-based companies with their “homework” and due diligence into the Australian market, including setting up and expanding their businesses in Australia. In particular, we have noted that expressions of interest in the Australian market have grown steadily ever since the 2016 EU Referendum and exponentially since Brexit, so please get in touch if you’d like to have a discussion about Brexporting to, or Brexpanding in, Australia. We’re here to make sure that the learning-curve is not a challenge and you can quickly get on with the more important task of winning new customers.

Global Britain and the CPTPP

Global Britain and the CPTPP

In a speech delivered on 3 July 2020 by Liz Truss, Secretary of State, she spoke passionately about advancing UK trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Here’s just a selection of her very positive comments…

“These free trade agreements (FTAs) are a vital part of reducing [trade] barriers but also protecting us against protectionism by making sure we keep tariffs and barriers low.

But of all the opportunities I’ve seen, I think CPTPP*** is one of the greatest. It covers 13% of the global economy – if you had the UK that would be 16%.”

***The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

“Membership of CPTPP would hitch the UK to the fast-growing Pacific region. It also helps us strengthen our ties with some of our key international allies like Canada, Singapore and Australia.

This to me is about strengthening the group of countries that believe in free trade but also believe in the rules-based global system.

I also think it’s important to recognise these benefits we could gain by joining CPTPP that we wouldn’t have been able to access as a member of the European Union. There is no ECJ and there is no harmonisation of domestic regulation and there is no seizing of our sovereign power. What it allows us to do is to be part of a modern, rules-based free trade area.

It enables us to sign up to advanced digital provisions. In effect, become part of a digital free trade area and I think that is incredibly important for the UK.”

The principles and aspirations of the UK Government in this regard are to be applauded and here at Kepdowrie Chambers we agree absolutely with the Secretary of State’s concluding comment:

“…the potential gains [for all countries] are enormous….both economically and strategically.”

Julian Gyngell appears before Parliament of Australia Committee

Julian Gyngell appears before Parliament of Australia Committee

ATG Participates in Senate Trade Inquiry

The Senate Inquiry

The Adept Trade Group (ATG) is closely monitoring the Senate Committee inquiry into Australia’s trade and investment relationship with the United Kingdom.The Committee is considering a number of key issues, including:

  • Australia’s current trade and investment relationship with the UK;
  • the implications of ‘Brexit’;
  • barriers and impediments to trade and investment, along with opportunities to expand trade and investment links; and
  • identifying UK trade and investment opportunities and assistance to Australian exporters.

ATG’s Participation

At the invitation of the Committee, in July 2017 ATG’s Julian Gyngell presented his views on the key issues at a public hearing.

Julian traversed a variety of issues. These ranged from streamlining visa applications and the opening of bank accounts, through to changes to the withholding tax system. In a nut shell, Julian advocated what he termed “positive discrimination”. Trade should be based on a framework of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment. MFN status includes mutual recognition of each country’s regulatory bodies. Areas include corporate governance, franchising, industry standards and approvals for therapeutic products.


The good news for Aussie-UK trade is that Brexit opportunities are now front-of-mind at the very highest level of both Governments. This indicates the high likelihood of wide-ranging critical reforms being implemented. Indeed, the respective PMs met at No 10 on 11 July to discuss the way forward. Each provided mutual assurances of their Government’s commitment to improving and building significant trade relations.

ATG’s Role

There is huge potential for businesses in both countries to benefit from Brexit and, indeed, regardless of Brexit!

Get in touch and we’ll tell you how we can assist your business to embrace the exciting winds of change coming.