The UK government is sending a shipment of British goods, including signed Beano comics, to Australia and New Zealand to mark the beginning of two new post-Brexit trade deals. These agreements are the first that the UK has negotiated post-Brexit and have come into force at midnight. The Business and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, described the starting of the deals as a “historic moment”.
The Trade Deals
The trade deals mean that all tariffs on UK goods exports to Australia and New Zealand will be removed, and the government says that red tape has also been slashed for digital trade and work visas. The UK government expects its deal with Australia to add £2.3bn to the UK economy, and a further £800m added from the trade deal with New Zealand. Alongside the new trade deals, young Britons will benefit from opportunities to travel to Australia with the expansion of the shared Youth Mobility and Working Holiday Maker visa schemes.
However, there are concerns over the impact of these trade deals on the UK’s farming sector. The National Farmers’ Union previously warned that it could cost the industry up to £150m. Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake, the party’s agriculture spokesman in Westminster, said the trade deals marked the “beginning of a worrying chapter” for Welsh farming, with Australia and New Zealand both among the world’s biggest producers of lamb. Ministers have dismissed these concerns as “misplaced” and said that much of New Zealand’s lamb is exported to China.
To celebrate the start of the trade deals, international trade minister Nigel Huddleston will tour DHL’s Southern Distribution Centre near Heathrow to see off two hand-picked consignments of British goods. They include Beano comics signed by the comic’s editor John Anderson, Penderyn single malt Welsh whisky, Brighton Gin, The Cambridge Satchel Co. bags, and Fever-Tree mixers. The packages, which include an England cricket top signed by James Anderson and Emma Lamb and a Welsh rugby shirt signed by the men’s team, will be sent from the government to the Australian and New Zealand trade ministers.
Future Trade Prospects
The UK has struck more than 70 trade deals since leaving the EU, but agreements with major players such as China and the US have remained elusive so far. However, Rishi Sunak announced last month that the UK will benefit from almost £18bn of extra private investment from Japan. Mr Sunak also said he envisioned even greater ties will come after the UK joined the CPTPP Pacific trading bloc, saying the “sky’s the limit”. Earlier this year, it was announced that the UK would join the bloc, which consists of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, and Japan.
The UK’s post-Brexit trading relationship with Australia and New Zealand is off to a positive start with the removal of tariffs on UK goods exports and the expansion of visa schemes for young Britons. While concerns have been raised over the impact on the UK’s farming sector, the government remains optimistic about the potential economic benefits. The UK’s continued efforts to secure trade deals with major players such as China and the US, as well as its entry into the CPTPP Pacific trading bloc, indicate a promising future for UK trade.