Australia, UK sign ‘historic’ free trade agreement
Sydney, Australia, Dec 17 (EFE).- Australia and the United Kingdom on Friday signed a historic free trade agreement (FTA), the first from scratch for the UK since it left the European Union.
The pact will immediately lift tariffs on over 99 percent of Australian exports, as well as cut import fees for many British products such as cars, alcohol and cosmetics.
“This is the most comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement that Australia has concluded,” a statement from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“It demonstrates our countries’ commitment to free trade as a driver of economic growth and stronger bilateral relationships.”
The FTA, which was agreed in principle in London in June, was formally signed during a virtual ceremony by Australian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan and British Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
The British representative stressed in a statement that the agreement demonstrates that “what the UK can achieve as an agile, independent sovereign trading nation. This is just the start as we get on the front foot and seize the seismic opportunities that await us on the world stage.”
Trevelyan and the Department for International Trade called the FTA a “historic trade agreement” and “our first from scratch since leaving the EU.”
The UK has signed other post-Brexit agreement and agreements in principle, but these stem from the trade terms that the UK enjoyed while part of the EU.
The commercial relationship between the UK and Australia reached a value of $26.79 billion in 2020 and both parties hope to expand this amount considerably. EFE