Delivering Opportunity: A review of the AU-UK Free Trade Agreement

23 March 2022

"Following the signing of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in December last year, the Australian British Chamber of Commerce has compiled a comprehensive review with partners at Principal Sponsor, Harrow Advisory - Delivering Opportunity: A review of the AU-UK Free Trade Agreement.

Drawing on Australian and UK individuals and businesses’ reactions, the report reveals an overwhelmingly positive response to the FTA from both nations.

This Agreement highlights the close relationship between the two countries, and provides great opportunities for further trade, investment, movement of capital and people. ​​​​​It promises to deliver prosperity across Australia and the UK, and establishes a new benchmark for Government and business relationships in the future.

With a broad survey and in depth interviews with leading executives from both countries, the report brings to life the active ways in which businesses will seek to gain new opportunities, strengthen existing relationships and potentially delve into third markets in each of our regions.

In a time of global uncertainty and challenges to the International Rules-Based System, this report highlights the benefits of open and free trade arrangements that benefit both parties.

I recommend this report to you and welcome your support as we urge Governments in both countries to ratify and implement the FTA as soon as possible. ​​​​​We know that businesses are chomping at the bit to have the additional support and freedoms that this FTA provides.

With 99% of tariffs removed on implementation, improved digital trade arrangements, mobility and collaborative opportunities ready to be progressed, the swift ratification and implementation will help drive the post Covid-19 recovery and further deepen one of our strongest bilateral relationships.

I would like to thank Steve Willis and David Mann from Harrow Advisory for the work in this report."

- David McCredie AM OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Australian British Chamber of Commerce.

Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Signed

17 December 2021

Additional Resources here:

The Australian British Chamber of Commerce the peak Australia UK business group fully supports the terms and intent of the FTA and encourages businesses to step up and make the most of it.

Last Friday the 17th of December saw the signing of the Australia/UK Free Trade Agreement (AUKFTA). The AUKFTA is a significant and important step in the continued growth and prosperity of Australia.

The removal of tariffs for 99% of Australian goods to the UK (~$9.2 billion by value) is the most obvious positive example. However, while tariffs rightly attract attention, perhaps as important, are cross-sector provisions that will enable a broad base of businesses to trade more freely, including provisions to enable mobility of people, digital trade, and investment. Amongst those which will reap the benefits will be the already vibrant services sectors, which generate almost 70% of Australian GDP, and employ ~80% of Australians, and where the UK is Australia’s 3rd largest services trading partner. 

David McCredie OBE, the CEO of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce, which represents the interests of 25,000 businesses engaged in trade and investment across the two countries, said:

“The potential impact is huge. This Free Trade Agreement is one of the most partnerial and ambitious agreements signed by Australia and reflects the strength of historical and ongoing trading ties between the two nations. While we have all heard of the impact on agriculture and trade, our members and I are hugely encouraged by the provisions which address issues of skilled and experienced workers, the growing need to address digital aspects and the potential for cross-border investment.”

The Chamber is also pleased that the respective negotiation teams have heard the input from our members through this process. Our members’ number one priority was mobility of people, which has been an inhibitor for Australia to access the skills it needs in key positions and specialist areas. The FTA changes to visa rules, processing and age limits have been well received and supported. That importance has been increased over the last 18 months, when many companies have been starved of new and experienced talent for their expanding needs. Our members plan to use these changes to bolster local capability in critical areas of shortage such as Digital, Technical, Engineering, etc., as well as seeking opportunities for bi-lateral skills swaps.

Mr. McCredie said:

“The opportunity for the sharing of skills and capabilities should not be underestimated. Brain circulation, where Australians are working and living in the UK to develop skills in areas where Britain is ahead and bring those skills home and vice versa enriches the capabilities of both nations. This includes areas important both to business and the community such as renewable energy, health and infrastructure development.”

Digital trade was another priority area for our members and those changes will have far-reaching impacts in most sectors, particularly with the liberalisation of data flows, e-trade and the commitment to establish cross-border digital identity frameworks. Additionally, the investment provisions will make it easier for capital to flow both ways, with FIRB thresholds for UK-originated investment raised and requirements eased for Australian companies expanding into the UK—given the UK is Australia’s 2nd largest investor and the UK is Australia’s 2nd largest destination for Australian investment, this is critical.

Mr. McCredie said:

“We were delighted that agreement has re-enforced the partnership approach to trade and investment, through a chapter on innovation and ongoing FTA development. This will promote innovation in trade and make it more likely that the FTA will remain current, as regulatory approaches, supply chains and technology continue to evolve. This agreement could not have happened without the efforts of a number of motivated individuals and we are grateful to Secretary of State The Rt Hon Anne-Maree Trevelyan and Minister The Hon Dan Tehan for completing this deal. It is important to thank also Elisabeth Bowes and Vivien Life the two Chief Negotiators and their teams as well, as Senator Simon Birmingham and The Rt Hon Liz Truss who kicked off the negotiations 18 months ago.

We and our members believe the timing and the tenor of this agreement creates significant opportunities for businesses in both countries. We look forward to helping our members capitalise and increase the value and quality of trade between our two nations.”

Agreement in Principle

15 June 2021

Additional Resources here:

The Australian British Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Agreement in Principle announced in London by Australia’s Prime Minister The Hon Scott Morrison and the UK’s Prime Minister The Rt Hon Boris Johnson.

This is an important milestone for the Australia UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Whilst the FTA text will still need to be completed, this Agreement provides a new level of certainty that the full text of a Free Trade Agreement can be delivered in the coming months.

The Chamber is very encouraged by the speed at which negotiating teams from both countries have worked over the last five weeks in their "sprint" since the important and transformative visit of The Hon Dan Tehan, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, to London to meet with Secretary of State for International Trade, The Rt Hon Liz Truss. Along with hours of daily negotiations and weekly calls between the two Ministers, the final step has been achieved through discussions on Monday evening and Tuesday morning directly between the two Prime Ministers.

This will be the first new FTA that the UK will undertake in the post-Brexit era, with others completed so far being roll overs of previous arrangements. It will also signal that the UK's rhetoric on "Global Britain" in the post-Brexit environment will be matched by action, to seek and obtain agreements such as this with other countries around the world. It is a terrific signal of the importance of countries with similar values and close market relationships that Australia is at the front of this queue.

If the final FTA delivers what is hoped for especially in relation to mobility, zero tariff and zero quota trade and alignments (be they mutual recognition or equivalence) for regulatory arrangements, then major opportunities for investment from both countries, along with additional trade, will open up for both countries.

The benefits of the FTA will bring important additional access and opportunity for businesses in both countries, especially if it delivers a new "gold standard" for 21st Century Free Trade.

We will continue to work with both governments and our sister Chamber, the Australia-UK Chamber based in London, on the finalisation of the deal.

David McCredie OBE, CEO of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce said:

“This important milestone is the result of terrific work by both sides to not only collate and endorse the many areas of mutual benefit, but to have worked through those more challenging areas to reach a level of confidence that the full FTA will be deliverable in the coming months. We trust that the teams will continue to work solidly to ensure that this is achieved as soon as possible.”

“Members from both the UK and Australian side of this deal have already been in touch signalling their strong support for this important step and look forward to the completion and implementation of the FTA to enhance the business environment for companies in the bilateral relationship.”

“Importantly, the Prime Ministers both mentioned the opportunity to enhance mobility of people, especially for those under the age of 35. We look forward to seeing the details of the Agreement in Principle in the coming days and making further comment at that time.”

Links to:

Agreement in Principle

UKCA Marking

The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) mark is the new UK product marking that will be required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most products that previously required the CE mark. It will not be recognized in the EU market. Products that require CE marking will still need a CE marking to be sold in the EU.

Most CE marking certificates will not be recognized in Great Britain after 31 December 2021, so you may need to act now to continue to trade. If you currently hold a CE marking certificate issued by an EU27 notified body, you will need to get a new UKCA certificate issued by a UK approved body. BSI can provide this service. You must do this before the end of 2021. After this date your CE marking certificate will no longer be valid to place products on the market in Great Britain.

Download a copy of BSI's guide to UKCA Marking.

UK Government information can be found here.

UK Cross-Border Trade in Services with Australia

An analysis of market access for financial services firms by the City of London.

Against the backdrop of the UK pursuing an independent trade policy, there is enhanced focus on the UK-Australia trading relationship .This report identifies policy areas where joint focus, either through free trade agreement negotiations or other trade tools such as mutual recognition agreements and regulatory dialogue, could address some common goals.

The report does so by seeking to understand the implications for UK based firms of the recent changes to the Australian licensing regime for foreign financial services providers. It also analyses the experiences of UK based firms doing business, or seeking to do business in Australia, in the fields of asset management, banking and payments. Finally, the report addresses some cross-cutting issues that have arisen out of our interviews and which affect firms across a range of sectors.

UK Cross-Border Trade in Services with Australia - July 2020

UK-Australia Mutual Recognition Agreement

The UK-Australia MRA contains the conditions under which each country will accept conformity assessment results from the other. It maintains the effects of the EU-Australia agreement in a bilateral context.

Australian British Chamber of Commerce Horizon Scanning Workshops Report

Between March and December 2018, the Australian British Chamber of Commerce delivered on behalf of the British High Commission four workshops to discuss opportunities among the British Australian business community for closer trade and investment between Australia and the UK.

The workshops were held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

In part, discussion at the workshops focused on what may be made possible through an eventual Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom, after the UK leaves the European Union.

Horizon Scanning Workshops - December 2018

Austrade, UK Department for International Trade, Australia-UK Chamber of Commerce and Australian British Chamber of Commerce Investment Report

This report shines a spotlight on the strength of the bilateral investment relationship between Australia and the UK. The $800 billion invested by companies across sectors such as defence, education, technology and finance is driving economic growth and prosperity and as Australia and the UK look towards a future tradng relationship, provides the best possible basis for a comprehensive and ambitious bilateral free trade agreement.

City of London, International Investment Services and Australian British Chamber of Commerce Investment Reports

Commissioned by the City of London Corporation and produced by International Investment Service, this research forms part of the City’s ongoing programme of engagement and collaboration with Australia and New Zealand. This programme hopes to boost the UK’s trading and investment relationship with these two nations by highlighting the existing and future opportunities for UK financial and professional services companies in sectors such as FinTech, cyber security and asset management.

Agreement in Principle


If you are interested in becoming an integral part of the Chamber's programme of work in the FTA negotiations, become a Member today.

Follow this link.

How the Chamber will Play Its Role

The Chamber will deliver a range of activities and programme to ensure that your voice is heard during the negotiations through the following:

  1. Provide advice to both countries negotiating teams
  2. Have access for Members to the Chief Negotiators from both sides
  3. Have access to Ministers from both countries
  4. Produce an initial submission that will frame the key issues for our Members
  5. Host events to develop and evolve the depth of understanding of the requirements of industry
  6. Produce research and reports in certain areas where further detail is required
  7. Produce a final submission to address areas raised throughout the consultation and negotiation
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