Thank you for contacting me about the new free trade agreement with Australia.
Our trade deal with Australia is an enormous opportunity for the UK. As well as Australia being one of the UK’s closest allies, we are also Australia’s second largest trading partner outside the Asia-Pacific and trade between our two countries was worth £18.8 billion in 2019.
The deal will eliminate tariffs on all UK goods and will support jobs and businesses across the country. Analysis suggests that UK exports to Australia could increase by up to £900 million and the deal will create new provisions on digital, mobility, services, investment and procurement. I can also assure you that Parliament will scrutinise the deal in the usual way.
More details are to be announced in due course but you can read the most recent progress on this historic trade agreement here.
I appreciate that you have concerns about the impact of the trade deal with Australia and its effect on British food standards. The Government has been clear that our food standards will not be lowered.
Australia shares has high standards in areas such as food, animal welfare and the environment. The Trade and Agriculture Commission will provide full independent scrutiny of animal welfare in trade deals and British farmers will also be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years through the use of tariff rate quotas and further safeguards.
I am pleased that we already have strong ‘Buy British’ trends in place; 81 per cent of beef sold in the UK is under the British logo, with Aldi, Budgens, the Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons and Waitrose all using 100 per cent British beef.
Moreover, every part of the UK is set to benefit from the agreement. Scotland, for instance, exported £126 million worth of beverages to Australia in 2020 and the deal will help distillers by removing tariffs of up to 5 per cent on Scotch Whisky. Machinery and manufacturing goods account for 90 per cent of exports from Northern Ireland to Australia and the deal will remove tariffs and simplify customs procedures. The more than 450 businesses in Wales that exported to Australia last year will also benefit from the deal.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking