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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Australia and Britain reach agreement for free trade deal

Australia’s minister for trade, Dan Tehan, said the pact was a “win for jobs, businesses, free trade and highlights what two liberal democracies can achieve while working together.”

The UK and Australia agreed to a free trade deal on Tuesday following talks between their respective premiers.

Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, and his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, ironed out their differences during bilateral talks at a Group of Seven (G7) meeting, said Australian Minister for Trade Dan Tehan.

“Their agreement is a win for jobs, businesses, free trade and highlights what two liberal democracies can achieve while working together,” said Tehan.

The minister added that the countries would make a formal announcement on Tuesday in London.

Benefit for the UK following Brexit
The details of the trade deal weren’t revealed, but some estimates say the agreement could add over $700 million (€576 million) to British economic output over the long term.

However, some analysts questioned the importance of the agreement for an Asia-focused economy like Australia.

“This free trade agreement is more about symbolism than immediately tangible material benefits,” said Ben Wellings, senior lecturer in politics and international relations at Australia’s Monash University.

A free trade deal with Australia was a top priority for the UK following Brexit, but negotiations had dragged on for months. The UK has already struck free trade deals with countries in the European Economic Area, such as Norway and Iceland.

David Littleproud, Australia’s agriculture minister, said that the deal was an “in-principle agreement.” Littleproud said that the details of the deal were being “nutted out.”

“Our departments and the Trade Department are working through feverishly to make sure that an announcement can be made at our time tonight so that Australians will see exactly what is in that in-principle agreement,” said Littleproud.

This is Australia’s 15th free trade agreement. The UK is Australia’s fifth-largest trading partner.

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