UK-Australia trade deal is more of a golden duck than a golden goose | International exchange | Breaking News Updates

UK-Australia trade deal is more of a golden duck than a golden goose | International exchange

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Cheaper Jacob’s Creek and Hardys wines, Tim Tams and surfboards for Great Britain, discount Scotch, cars and clothing for Australia. While things may not be going so well for the England cricket team in Australia, the UK government is talking about Anglo-Aussian relations.

Almost six months after an agreement in principle, the United Kingdom and Australia signed a free trade agreement described as “historic” for its status as the first negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU.

Ministers expect the deal to unlock £ 10.4 billion in additional trade, saying it will boost the UK economy, raise wages and eliminate tariffs on 100% of UK exports. For a government under as much pressure as England’s hard-working drummers, this is rare good news to talk about when everything else looks a bit grim.

In economic terms, however, the deal is expected to cut prices for Australian goods in UK stores by just over a pound per year per household, and add just 0.02% to the size of the UK economy. over 15 years, by the government’s own admission. . More golden duck than golden goose.

UK farmers fear the deal could hurt the industry, while Greenpeace warned UK consumers could eat Australian beef linked to deforestation, flown across the world at a time when demand for sustainable products increases with fewer kilometers between farm and fork.

Union leaders also fear that the agreement will have no effective means of upholding labor rights or protecting migrant workers from exploitation. The TUC warns that public services are not sufficiently protected, while there is a lack of guarantees on the use of worker data and NHS data.

Advocates argue the deal does not lower standards and expose UK businesses to unfair competition. Business leaders broadly welcomed the deal, saying there are opportunities for exporters with faster and cheaper access, as well as generous provisions on labor mobility for those under. 35 years.

It is hoped to export more green technologies and digital services, with lower trade barriers, opening up Australia to UK businesses and providing more choice for UK consumers.

Critics of the government might say there are similar, larger opportunities closer to home. Trade with the EU accounted for over £ 550 billion in imports and exports last year, compared to just £ 15 billion with Australia. However, Brexit imposes barriers that will have a lasting impact.

According to the National Audit Office, around 64% of the UK’s total trade is covered by free trade agreements, against the government’s target of bringing back 80% by 2022. Beyond the economy tough and cold, such deals can support broader geopolitical goals and extend Britain’s influence.

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But the audit office warned that the benefits are hard to quantify, while criticizing ministers for rushing to sign new deals without sufficient parliamentary oversight.

But the deal could be crucial to the government’s trade strategy in the near future, with Australia seen as a gateway to the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP). Australia is a key member of this free trade area, one of the largest in the world, covering £ 9 billion of GDP in 11 Pacific countries including Japan, Canada, Mexico, New -Zeeland and Vietnam. UK trade with the group was worth £ 111 billion in 2019 and is growing rapidly. The deal also follows the Aukus Security Pact between the UK, America and Australia, under which Canberra gained access to nuclear submarine technology.

Ultimately, however, distance matters in global trade. Ties like a shared language, a common history, and a like-minded government could help, but removing tariffs and opening up market access won’t do much to bring Britain closer together from one country to the other side of the world. And as cricket fans may know best, the middle of the night isn’t always the best time to do business.

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