UK, Australia and New Zealand enter into ground-breaking free trade deals set to go live at midnight on 31 May 2023

The UK is set to benefit from two ground-breaking free trade deals with Australia and New Zealand later this month, marking the country’s first trade deals negotiated from scratch since leaving the European Union. Starting from midnight on 31 May, the free trade agreements are expected to increase bilateral trade with Australia by 53% and New Zealand by 59% in the long term.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will meet with both the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers tomorrow, 5th of May, for talks in Downing Street ahead of the King’s Coronation. These trade deals will open up unprecedented access for services, remove tariffs on all UK goods exports, cut red tape for digital trade and make it easier for UK professionals to live and work in Australia and New Zealand. The Prime Minister said: “As some of our closest allies, and greatest friends, I am delighted our first built from scratch trade deals are with Australia and New Zealand. These landmark deals squarely deliver on my priorities to drive economic growth, boost innovation and increase highly skilled jobs across the UK, ensuring we and our closest friends continue to prosper for generations to come”, concluded Mr Sunak.

Business and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, added: “With these two deals the UK is using our status as an independent trading nation to tailor agreements to our country’s economic strengths. Alongside our recent conclusion of talks to join CPTPP, the government is forging a bold new future alongside the world’s most dynamic and fast-growing economies.”

UK benefits include:

  • Tariff free access to both markets for all British goods and flexible rules of origins, giving businesses a competitive edge over international rivals.
  • Removal of UK import tariffs on the majority of goods from Australia and New Zealand, reducing prices for UK consumers on favourites such as wine and manuka honey and lowering costs on machinery parts for UK manufacturers.
  • Progressive rules on digital trade and free flow of data, cutting red tape for SMEs and easing trade while protecting intellectual property, brands and innovations.
  • As part of the two Free Trade Agreements, originating British food and drink products will benefit from reduced tariffs.
  • As a result of the Free Trade Agreements, tariffs on all products will be removed making it more competitive for UK manufacturers to export their products to these markets.

The agreement is expected to enter into force on the 31 May, subject to finalisation of UK domestic procedures with remaining changes to UK law coming into force at the end of May. 

Information from the UK Government’s press release.