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Media Release 17 June 2020

The Australian Government has launched Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the United Kingdom (UK) for a comprehensive, ambitious and mutually beneficial bilateral agreement.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said both Governments are committed to progressing the FTA, and improved market access for agricultural products will be at the forefront of negotiations.

“An FTA with the UK will take Australia and UK’s already strong economic partnership to the next level,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This is great news for Australian farmers and Australia’s agricultural sector.

“Australian farmers produce to the highest environmental and animal welfare standards and are rewarded all over the world for their high-quality produce. The UK is a market with whom we can share products, innovation, and services in agriculture.

“The UK and Australia recognise the importance of open markets and the benefits of global trade and investment, including to our agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

“The Australia and the UK agri-food industry are closely and historically linked through investment.

“Concluding a high-quality FTA will also assist in the economic recovery of both countries in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Australian Government will stand with our farmers and continue to work to find new and expand existing markets to give them a competitive edge.”

Fast facts:

  • Since the UK referendum in 2016, we have been working to protect and promote our interests with the UK and EU.
  • The United Kingdom (UK) has formally left the European Union (EU) and entered into a transition period until 31 December 2020
    o During the transition period, the UK can launch, conclude and ratify free trade agreements, including with Australia with implementation possible only when the transition period ends.
  • Two-way agricultural trade between Australia and the UK in 2019 totalled around $1.5b, with Australia exporting $638m in agricultural goods to the UK.
    o Australia’s key export commodities were wine ($397m), sheep meat ($66m) and beef ($55m).
    o Key agricultural imports from the UK (totalling $891.5m) were spirits ($311m), baked goods ($102m) and animal feed ($102m).