24 Jun

“POLLING: Ever closer mates: The deep support for a United Kingdom-Australia Free Trade Deal” Dr Michael Turner, CT Group

The UK has just agreed a historic trade deal with Australia. This is the first from-scratch deal agreed since the UK exited the EU five years ago.

Ahead of the deal being signed, Sydney-based research and strategy firm C|T Group RSR, recently completed polling on the UK-AU FTA with voters in the UK and Australia. The research was conducted in partnership with the free market think tank, the Adam Smith Institute, based in London, UK.

The report was authored by Dr Michael Turner and Matthew Lesh. Michael is Head of Research (Director) at C|T Group RSR and Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute (ASI). Matthew is Head of Research at the ASI.

Key findings from the research:

  • Brits say that Australia is the number one priority to increase trade with and a clear majority in both countries want to secure a deal — this is built on the belief that Australia has high standards
  • The UK-Australia relationship is driven by deep connections between Brits and Aussies, a mutual interest in living and working across the two nations, and strong consumer demand for products made in each other’s countries
  • Brits and Aussies are interested in a wide array of benefits from a trade deal, including; recognising qualifications, helping businesses grow to be internationally competitive, creating jobs, giving consumers more choice, and reducing barriers to investment
  • While a small, vocal minority, may have raised concerns about farming, a clear majority of Brits believe that British farmers can and should compete globally. Brits want more Australian wine, beef and lamb, and they have a high degree of confidence in Australian farming standards. If the deal does go ahead, Brits want a short transition period and do not consider protecting farmers to be a reason worth blocking the deal
  • If push came to shove, most Brits say that they would prefer to trade with Australia over the European Union, and more than four-fifths of voters feel that trade with Australia should be at least as easy as it is with the EU
  • Australians prioritise diversifying trade away from China, and a clear majority say that Australia should increase links with like-minded countries like the UK.
  • Australians too want to see more goods and services from the UK, with two-thirds of Aussies saying they would consider purchasing a British-manufactured car and a similar proportion in favour of banks being able to operate in both countries

Commenting in the poll, Dr Michael Turner said:

“This research not only shows that Brits believe in the core benefits of free trade, but also the ability of British farmers and businesses to seize the opportunity that a UK-Australia trade deal will provide.

“Brits back British farmers to compete and grow their businesses, and a majority say they feel British goods will be in high demand down under. From Tim Tams to Cornish pasties, Aussie beef to British cheese, the results show consumers in both countries have a healthy and reciprocal appetite to consume goods made in each other's countries.

“Also, contrary to the popular narrative of the inward-looking and protectionist Brexit voter, this research shows that the overwhelming majority of those who voted to Leave the EU in 2016, are in fact supportive of a more outwardly-focused and freely trading Britain post-Brexit.

“This is a deal that Aussie and Brits are truly getting behind, for good reason. Both Aussies and Brits prioritise diversification over a focus on their largest existing trading partners (China and the EU respectively). There is also an acknowledgement that if voters want to build successful domestic manufacturing industries, then they must be more internationally competitive and so it is essential that trading is made freer and easier”.

Full results from the poll and the research paper, can be found here: https://www.adamsmith.org/research/ever-closer-mates

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