Australia has officially signed its free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom, which the Government says will make “Australian exports to the UK cheaper, create new opportunities for workers, young people and businesses and further strengthen the special relationship between [the] two countries”.

The agreement is good news for the industry, and consumers, with the immediate elimination of tariffs on over 99 per cent of Australian goods exported to the UK.

In addition businesses will save as tariffs on British imports into Australia, including whisky, are phased out over the next five years.

Australian farmers will now have improved access to more than 65 million UK consumers who value safe, sustainably produced goods with the strong provenance Australia offers.

Around $43m in annual customs duties will be removed from Australian wine when the agreement enters into force.

Australian Grape & Wine welcomed the signing of the FTA, with Chief Executive Tony Battaglene, saying: “Australia is the second largest source of wine imports into the UK by volume. In the 12 months ended September 2021, Australia exported 251 million litres valued at $460m to the United Kingdom. It is our number one export market by volume and value.

“The agreement eliminates tariffs on wine on entry into force, levelling the playing field for Australia’s wine exports with our major competitors from Continental Europe. It also provides a platform for future dialogue to continue to work together on technical issues to further enhance the trade in wine between the two countries.

“The United Kingdom has a long and proud history in the wine trade and its wine industry is emerging as a significant producer of fine wines. We look forward to working collaboratively with the producers and trade to ensure the people of the United Kingdom can enjoy our wines.

“We congratulate the Australian Government on today’s announcement, and thank Ministers Tehan and Littleproud for all the work they and their departments have done to reach this milestone,” said Battaglene.

Alcohol Beverages Australia CEO Andrew Wilsmore also welcomed the news, he said: “The finalisation of the Australia-UK Free trade deal brings considerable benefits to drinks producers in both countries and to their consumers.

“The FTA is estimated to see $43m in annual customs duties removed from Australian wine when the agreement enters into force, which will help strengthen Australia’s position in this key export market and go some way in making up for the challenges imposed by China’s recent tariff increases.

“Australia is the eighth biggest market for Scotch whisky exports, so Australian lovers of scotch whisky will also benefit from the five-year phase out of the five per cent tariff Australia has on scotch whiskey.

“The 2030 Vision for the Alcohol Beverages Industry set an ambitious plan to double Australian exports. Reducing trade barriers enhances our ability to direct costly tariffs towards investment in capital and people to help grow the economy.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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