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The United Kingdom announced Tuesday that it had reached a post-Brexit trade agreement with Australia, which the British government described as “historic”.
This is the first agreement that London has reached, and it was not just a renewal of an existing agreement or an adaptation of agreements already concluded between the European Union and other countries, according to a statement issued by the British Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed on the main lines with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Monday evening in London. The agreement is expected to be published in the next few days and will then need to be signed.
Under the deal, all British goods will be allowed duty-free entry into Australia and will benefit the automobile sector, the Scottish whiskey industry, biscuits and ceramics.
Trade between the two countries amounted to 13.9 billion pounds in 2020. The statement said the agreement also included protection for British farmers who have expressed concern about competition from Australian products such as beef and lamb, which is governed by looser health standards.
The agreement limits imports into British territory duty-free for 15 years, mainly through a quota system.
On the other hand, the government wants to help British agricultural producers find other export outlets, including in the Indo-Pacific region.
London hopes that this agreement with Australia will open the doors more easily to accession to the Trans-Pacific Trade Treaty, which includes 11 countries in America and Asia and allowed the United Kingdom in early June to begin the procedures for accession to this vast free trade area.
The UK has concluded trade agreements with the European Union and Japan and is in talks with India and New Zealand. Negotiations are scheduled with Canada and Mexico.
London still expects to reach a trade agreement with the US although progress appears to be minimal at the moment. This was not mentioned in reports of the meeting between Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden on Thursday, the eve of the G7 meeting in Cornwall, southwest England.
© 2021 AFP