London and Canberra sign post-Brexit free trade agreement

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The UK on Thursday signed its first new trade deal with Australia since leaving the European Union. The text should eliminate customs duties on the two countries’ exports, but raises some concerns, especially among breeders.

A novelty since Brexit. The United Kingdom signed a free trade agreement with Australia on Thursday, December 16, a commitment that should open the doors to the Asia-Pacific region, but criticized for its uncertain benefit and its environmental impact.

The “historic” agreement ratified in a virtual ceremony was the subject of an agreement in principle in June between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and “negotiators have now finalized all chapters,” according to a statement from the Department of the United Kingdom. for International Trade.

This is the first agreement reached by London since it left the European Union, effective from 1is January, so as not to simply be a renewal or adaptation of those existing between the EU and other countries.

Endorsement of Parliament

The text, which will be presented to MPs for consideration at Westminster, is expected to generate “an additional 10.4 billion pounds of trade … by eliminating tariffs on 100% of [leurs] exports ”. Trade between the two countries amounted to £ 13.9 billion in 2020, just over 1% of the UK’s total trade.

The agreement establishes “new global standards in digital and services, will create new job and travel opportunities for British and Australians”, underlines the British government. London has text “tailor-made for the British economy”, especially in areas where the country is “a world leader, such as technology and digital.”

British service professionals, including architects, lawyers or researchers, will have access to Australian work visas: “This is more than Australia has offered any other country in a free trade agreement,” welcomes the Ministry of International Trade.

This commitment “increases our chances of joining the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement (CPTPP)”, which brings together eleven countries in the Americas and Asia and weighs “8.4 billion pounds in GDP.”

Breeders concern

The NGO Greenpeace, for its part, regretted an agreement to the text “not yet published” and that it will have “not only one of the worst impacts on the climate but also with a country that is one of the world’s main sources of deforestation.” , which goes against Britain’s London environmental targets, which aims for carbon neutrality by 2050.

During the negotiations between the two countries, the British agricultural sector was concerned about competition from Australian products, such as beef and lamb, which are cheaper with more industrial agriculture with more flexible sanitary regulations.

To reassure breeders, the text sets a limit on imports on British soil without customs duties for 15 years, especially through quotas, the British government said in June, which did not provide details on the agricultural blind in its press release. from Thursday.

With AFP

Dennis Alvarado

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