Australia-UK free trade agreement a ‘big win’

Open sailing: The free trade agreement between Australia and the UK will provide opportunities for both countries to diversify their markets, says the red meat industry. Photo by Contributed

The Australia-United Kingdom free trade agreement will provide new and diversified trade opportunities for Australian farmers and agricultural exporters, says Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

“This agreement will open up new and enhanced market access for our beef, sheep meat, wine, sugar, dairy, grains, horticulture and seafood exports once it enters into force,” he said.

“The agreement is the most comprehensive free trade agreement Australia has signed with any trading partner apart from New Zealand.

“There will be immediate new market diversification opportunities and reduced trade costs for many sectors, including wine, seafood, rice and horticulture.

“New commercially significant up-front quotas for beef, sheep meat, sugar and dairy will also provide immediate benefits for our farming communities.”

Mr Littleproud said the FTA would also cover a variety of measures critical for the further development of Australian agriculture, including improved investment arrangements and enhanced trade in manufactured goods and services.

“It also establishes closer cooperation on biosecurity, animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance that will not impact Australia’s standards or right to regulate in these critical areas.

“The FTA will also facilitate agricultural labour mobility between the UK and Australia providing new opportunities to support the exchange of skilled labour.”

The red meat industry welcomed the news.

“Australia and the UK have a long history of trade, with the UK being a loyal purchaser of Australian beef and sheepmeat, albeit in small volumes,” Australia-UK Red Meat Market Access Taskforce chair Andrew McDonald said.

“Under the A-UK FTA, future trade will be more streamlined, removing burdensome costs from the red meat supply chain that ultimately disadvantage British consumers and stifle opportunities for market development.

“The FTA also represents an opportunity for Australian and British exporters to further diversify their markets and demonstrates both countries’ commitment to rules-based, open trade.”

The deal, once ratified, will result in Australian beef and sheepmeat exports entering the UK under a tariff rate quota (TRQ) regime — with initial TRQ tonnages gradually increasing during a 10-year transition period.

Product within the TRQ amounts will enter tariff-free.


Australia’s agricultural trade with the UK in 2020-21 was worth $823 million with key exports including wine ($514 million), lamb and mutton ($77 million), beef and veal ($11 million), pulses ($15 million), wool ($8 million) and nuts ($7 million)

Total exports to the UK were at an all-time high in 2020-21. Australian agriculture, forestry and fisheries exports to the UK increased by $182 million from the previous year ($641 million to $823 milion).

The complete elimination of tariffs on all agricultural goods within 10 years will provide opportunities for continued strong growth of Australian exports into the future.