UK, Australia agree large-scale trade deal

Photo: EPA Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian PM Scott Morrison announced they had reached agreement over a large trade deal between the two countries, BBC reported. UK has been pushing ahead with efforts to substitute EU as trade partner after the Brexit process was completed. This is the first trade deal to be negotiated from scratch since the UK left the EU. The agreement is seen as key step towards the Britain joining a wider Asia Pacific free-trade agreement.

The UK government has signed a long list of trade deals over the past year, but they have been rollovers of those the UK already had as part of the EU. The new trade deal is expected to give UK and Australian food producers and other businesses easier access to each other's markets.

The UK government says membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could provide British farmers with huge opportunities. With the two leaders in the same room, sitting at the same dinner table, the UK trade agreement with Australia is now tangible. Both prime ministers can draw on the significance of striking the first deal after the UK has left the EU. Australian farmers have essentially been locked out of the UK market for almost 50 years - finding it nearly impossible to navigate Brussels' restrictions, tariffs and quotas. The president of the Australian National Farmers' Federation said it had been very difficult to break into the UK because it was "way too expensive and way too far". But with tariffs and quotas likely to be removed within 15 years - a detail expected in the agreement - it opens up a much-coveted area for the Australian agricultural industry.

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