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UK-Australia sign free trade agreement

17 December 2021

The agreement was formally signed yesterday evening

According to a special report by Sarah Baker, Strategic Insight Manager at the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), there will be Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQ’s) on beef and sheep-meat imports. These tariffs are set at 35,000t for beef and 25,000t for sheep-meat, increasing at regular annual increments over 10 years to reach 110,000t for beef and 75,000t for sheep-meat by year 10.

Any product exceeding this quantity will be subject to the UK Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs.

Baker said that pork, poultry and eggs are not included in the FTA. This means that Australian pork exports will attract UK MFN tariffs. Australia is a net importer of pork and the UK can still export to Australia tariff free, as it does currently.

From years 10 to 15 there will be product-specific safeguards, which in effect increase the tariff-free beef imports incrementally to 170,000t and sheep-meat to 125,000t by Year 15, with a 20 per cent tariff on any imports that exceed this quantity, she said.

With regards to animal welfare, a non-regression clause has been included for the first time in a UK FTA. The clause ensures that neither party can regress on current animal welfare standards in order to undercut the other party on price.

The agreement will not take effect overnight.

"The complex process that needs to take place, which will include a three-month period of public scrutiny, Trade and Agricultural Commission (TAC) scrutiny and then government and parliamentary process, means that it is unlikely to be in force before the second half of 2023," wrote Baker. 



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