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International trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has defended the UK’s free trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, saying criticism of them is “misplaced”.

Speaking in Australia during a nine-day tour covering both countries, Trevelyan said that a 15-year period, during which meat imports would be capped, offered a safeguard to farmers, whilst the deals would remove tariffs on imported goods and reduce inflation.

Transitional protections

She told the FT: “I don’t think we need to be concerned but because there were anxieties, and we understand why, both governments were very happy to work up a transitional protection, which, you know, tapers away eventually.”

Reap benefits

Trevelyan is the first UK cabinet minister to meet the new Australian government on its home soil, and will use the trip to encourage more businesses to take advantage of the benefits of the newly signed deals, a government statement said.

As well as meeting recently-elected Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, Trevelyan will speak with New Zealand’s minister for trade and export growth, Damien O’Connor, and engage with businesses including Qantas, BMT, MacTaggart Scott and BAE Systems.

The government claims that the New Zealand trade deal is worth £800m a year to the UK economy and that the Australian agreement will add £3.2 billion annually.

Indo-Pacific tilt

The visit also provides an opportunity to discuss support for the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) by the end of the year, further boosting UK trade opportunities in the region.

British High Commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell, said that the region was key to the UK’s ‘Indo-Pacific tilt’.


“This wide-ranging visit will see the minister engage across trade, defence and climate – testament to the importance of our modern partnership to maximise opportunities and tackle current challenges together,” Treadell said.

Trevelyan is expected to say that the UK and Australia must build on their new trade deal to “stand up for liberty”, reports GB News.

She will tell Australian politicians and business leaders that the free trade agreement “opens the doors to even greater collaboration and we welcome Australia’s ongoing commitment to a free, stable and open Indo-Pacific region, as we continue to work closely on the UK’s accession to the CPTPP”.

Lower prices, more choice

The minister is also expected to say the agreement will provide lower prices and more choice to British consumers.

Enabling legislation for the trade deals will be introduced within the coming few weeks, Trevelyan told the FT, with the Australia deal expected to be being fully ratified by early 2023.