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UK signs Free Trade Agreement with Australia

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 21 Dec 2021

The UK has signed its first “from scratch” Free Trade Agreement since leaving the EU, promising new business opportunities as well as easier access for skilled workers, including accountants, to Australia’s service sectors.

The deal, signed off by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is expected to unlock £10.4bn of additional trade, boost the UK economy by £2.3bn and add £900m to UK household wages.

The agreement will also eliminate all tariffs on UK exports, making it cheaper to export UK products such as cars, clothing or whiskey while Australian products will become more accessible for the UK market. The more Flexible Rules of Origin mean UK processed food exporters will not need to show that many of their ingredients wholly originate from the UK to qualify for 0% tariffs.

The UK technology and digital sectors are said to particularly benefit, while the agreement also allows easier access to Australia’s service sectors. It’s the first time that UK professionals, including accountants, architects, scientists, researchers and lawyers, will have access to visas to work in Australia without being subject to Australia’s changing skilled occupation list.

The deal will also allow British nationals aged 18 to 35 to work and travel in Australia for up to three years at a time, removing previous visa conditions.

ICAEW’s CEO Michael Izza commented that there was “much to welcome in the UK-Australia FTA, recognising the value of the UK’s world-leading professional services sector. Plans to give UK accountants guaranteed access to work visas and to mutually recognise professional qualifications are a good start. ICAEW looks forward to working with government to develop and deliver the opportunities promised by this new deal.”

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