Landmark UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand trade deals come into effect today

Wed 31 May 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

UK Australia and New Zealand flags hanging on flag pole with sunset in background

Today (31 May), the UK’s trade deals with Australia and New Zealand came into force, marking the start of first of the UK’s post-Brexit trade agreements.

Secretary of state for Business and trade, Kemi Badenoch, welcomed today as a “historic moment” for UK trade post-Brexit.

Momentous

She said: “Businesses up and down the country will now be able to reap the rewards of our status as an independent trading nation and seize new opportunities, driving economic growth, innovation and higher wages.”

Henriette Gjaerde, IOE&IT trade and customs specialist and lead on trade agreements, said:

“Today marks an important milestone, with the two first trade agreements negotiated from scratch by the UK as an independent trading nation entering into force.

“With the removal of tariffs on nearly all goods, UK businesses can expect to operate at reduced costs and could gain a competitive advantage in these markets. As a result of this, UK businesses can now trade more efficiently, swiftly and at a lower cost.

“Moreover, the enhanced mobility opportunities coupled with the access to the government procurement markets opens up expansive business opportunities for UK firms.”

Bearing gifts

Both deals went live at midnight, with trade minister Nigel Huddleston celebrating the event by sending a handpicked consignment of UK goods to both countries.

This package includes drink mixers from Fever-Tree, who are lined up to speak at the Institute of Export & International Trade’s (IOE&IT) Import Export Show later in the year, as well as non-alcoholic beer from Drop Bear Beer and signed shirts from England cricketers James Anderson and Emma Lamb.

Tariffs

The government expects the removal of tariffs on nearly all goods to and from New Zealand and Australia will reduce costs for consumers and manufacturers.

Under both deals rules of origin have become more flexible, changes have been made to rules on digital trade and UK business will have access to bid on additional government contracts with Australia.

Overall, the government claims that bilateral trade with Australia and New Zealand will grow by 53% and 59% respectively.

Services

Another hope is that the agreements will unlock market access for the UK services industry.

Business will no longer be required to have a local office or residency in either country in order to provide services, and clauses in the deals set the stage for mutual recognition agreements to be more easily negotiated, led by a Professional Services Working Group.

Data flows – vital for the development of new technologies – are also expected to become easier and faster, and specific service sectors such as business travel and insurance are hoping to benefit from bespoke provisions in the deals.

SMEs

The government has highlighted the specific sections within both the New Zealand and Australia deals targeted at SMES.

These include SME Contact Points and a commitment to consider the impact of any new regulations on SMEs.

Advice

The government has published a series of documents explaining the benefits that are now made available to UK businesses under both agreements.

You can see the Australia guidance here and the New Zealand advice here.

Sector-specific explainers are available for the Australia agreement can be read here with New Zealand being viewed here.

IOE&IT partnered with the Department for Business and Trade to promote the ways that business can benefit from the deals.

The UK-New Zealand webinar can be viewed here, and the UK-Australia webinar can be watched back here.