Industry hails UK, Australia trade deal

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has welcomed the announcement of a finalised free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and Australia.

“The trade agreement is set to remove tariffs on products in both directions of trade, and ease the regulatory burdens that businesses face in entering the respective markets,” said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale. “The deal is a boon for the UK wine industry, with Australian wine the leading country of origin for British wine consumers, worth more than £1.5bn in UK sales and supporting thousands of jobs throughout the UK economy, from bottling and logistics to retail and hospitality.”

Beale said the agreement is also set to provide a boost to British gin exporters, as Australia has been one of the “fastest growing markets of the gin export renaissance”.

“Exports to Australia have more than doubled since 2016, to £27.5m in customs value,” he added. “British gin exporters will be keen to continue to build momentum in the market on the back of this announcement.” 

Meanwhile, Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) international director Ian McKendrick said the FTA will eliminate a 5% tariff on Scotch whisky. 

“The Scotch whisky industry seeks to trade on a level playing field around the world – and that is what the UK-Australia trade deal delivers," he said. "The elimination of the 5% tariff on Scotch whisky in the agreement will help the industry continue to expand exports to Australia, which have almost doubled over the last decade.

“We look forward to working with the UK and Australian governments to implement the deal over the coming years and take advantage of any opportunity to address other regulatory barriers to trade.”

The deal was agreed in principle by the prime minister and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison in London in June, and negotiators have now finalised all chapters of the agreement.

The final deal was signed in a virtual ceremony by international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan on Thursday evening, and will now be laid in Parliament for a period of scrutiny.

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