Australia’s Minister for Trade Dan Tehan announced on Tuesday that the United Kingdom and Australia had reached an agreement on a trade deal after meetings between their prime ministers ironed out outstanding concerns. Britain had considered achieving a trade deal with Australia a top priority for its post-Brexit plan as it sought to strengthen commercial and diplomatic ties in the Indo-Pacific region, but talks have been dragging on for months.
The deal will be Britain’s first trade agreement since the Brexit vote, and it comes as London aims to strengthen commercial and political ties in the Indo-Pacific region.
After the Group of Seven conference in Britain over the weekend, which Morrison had attended as a guest, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British counterpart Boris Johnson overcome sticking points during negotiations.
With two-way trade worth A$26.9 billion ($20.7 billion), Britain is Australia’s eighth-largest trading partner. Prior to 1973, when Britain joined the then-European single market, it was Australia’s most profitable trading partner. Later on Tuesday, a formal announcement will be made.
The accord will be heavily scrutinized by British farmers, who fear that if tariffs on Australian lamb and beef are eliminated, they would be put out of business. Australian Trade Minister David Littleproud declined to comment on specifics but claimed the agreement would help Australian farmers.
Though details are still being worked out, some official estimates suggest that the agreement might boost British economic output by 500 million pounds ($705.7 million) in the long run.
Analysts in Australia, on the other hand, questioned the significance of an economy already centered on Asia.