The UK’s post-Brexit trade deals with Australia and New Zealand have come into force, marking a historic moment for the country. The trade agreements, which were negotiated by former trade secretary Liz Truss, are the first to take effect after the UK, Australia, and New Zealand completed their domestic ratification processes.
The UK government has lauded the moment, calling it a significant milestone in the country’s history. However, critics argue that the deals give away “far too much for far too little,” with the UK government’s own calculations estimating that the deal will have a negligible long-term contribution to the British economy.
The agreements will remove tariffs on all UK goods exports to Australia and New Zealand, unlocking access to these markets for services and slashing red tape for digital trade and work visas. The move is expected to benefit businesses up and down the country, driving economic growth, innovation, and higher wages.
However, the deals have prompted criticism in Britain, particularly from farmers who argue that the agreements are one-sided and disadvantage British farmers. The UK’s environment secretary when the UK-Australia trade pact was struck in December 2021, George Eustice, admitted that it was “not actually a very good deal” for Britain.
Despite the criticism, the UK government remains optimistic about the deals, saying that young Britons will benefit from opportunities in Australia, thanks to the expansion of the shared youth mobility and working holiday maker visa schemes. The age limit for UK applicants going to Australia will go from 30 to 35 years old, and Britons will be able to stay in Australia for up to three years without having to meet specified work requirements from July 2024.
The founder and managing director of Brighton Gin, Kathy Caton, welcomed the deals coming into force, saying that they remove trade barriers and bring the UK one step closer to seeing Brighton Gin being served in every state in Australia.
Overall, the UK’s post-Brexit trade deals with Australia and New Zealand have been met with mixed reactions. While the UK government is celebrating the historic moment, critics argue that the deals give away too much and disadvantage British farmers. Only time will tell whether the agreements will be beneficial for the country in the long term.
Original Post: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/may/31/uk-post-brexit-trade-deals-with-australia-and-new-zealand-kick-in