Calls for more UK investment as trade tariffs stripped

Trade Minister Don Farrell has urged businesses to take advantage of a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom as further barriers come down.

Australian exports to Britain increased almost threefold in June compared to the same time last year after the trade pact stripped tariffs on 99 per cent of Australian goods.

All imports into Australia from the UK will soon be tariff-free as well.

Senator Farrell used a keynote address to the Australia-British Chamber of Commerce to spruik the trade agreement signed earlier this year, saying it was helping bring down the cost of living by making everyday products cheaper.

“You can maximise your contribution to Australian enterprise using this FTA,” he said on Tuesday.

“You can boost your bottom line and you create a reverberating impact on our economy and our prosperity.”

A free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN has also been upgraded to strengthen supply chains and the use of digital technology.

The amendments to the pact also include commitments to enhance co-operation on environmental protection, green energy, labour issues and women’s economic empowerment.

Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts signed the protocol on the sidelines of an ASEAN economic forum in Indonesia.

Australia’s trade with ASEAN members makes up almost 15 per cent of the nation’s trade, with Southeast Asia being a significant consumer of energy, agriculture and minerals.

The pact will need to be domestically ratified by member nations with the aim of coming into force next year.

Special envoy for Southeast Asia Nicholas Moore is working to develop a regional economic strategy up to 2040 to “better harness the potential to significantly increase two-way trade and investment between Australia and the region”.

The strategy is expected to be released before the end of the year.


Dominic Giannini
(Australian Associated Press)

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Categories: Finance