There has been a flurry of media coverage about the forthcoming UK-Australia free trade agreement.
In my view most of it, at least in the UK papers, has been negative. The Sun was the most jovial.
“Burger and wine bonanza as Boris signs off groundbreaking tax free Australian trade deal.”
Much more typical was the Daily Record’s dour headline.
“Perthshire farmers concerned at prospect of Australian trade deal with UK.”
Post Brexit, the UK Government is particularly anxious to sign more trade deals in Asia-Pacific.
This region contains 53% of the world population. Whilst it accounts for 32% of global GDP¹ now, everyone expects that share to grow. Then there is the allure of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership). Although President Trump walked out of TPP, and it’s unclear where President Biden’s sentiments lie, others are pushing ahead.
Britain sees an opportunity in the TPP that would have been unimaginable had it remained in the EU. Signing an FTA agreement with Australia will facilitate that quest. And it already has trade deals with Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and Singapore.
Behind the headlines of beef, burgers and wine, the UK is a net exporter to Australia (£9.8b exports vs £4.1b imports in 2020²) then there is FDI which is around 4x higher.
So do expect a photo op of PMs Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison torching up some beef at the G7 BBQ in June.
This year, we have worked with a UK company in Australia which has involved finding a local manufacturing and distribution partner. The Australian partner are currently presenting the UK brand to the Australian trade.
I am not alone in hoping this deal comes to fruition.
Sources: ¹Worldbank ²Department for International Trade