Posted: Wed 31st May 2023
Signed copies of classic comic Beano are some of the items being sent to New Zealand and Australia as the UK's first post-Brexit international trade deals come into effect.
According to the terms of the new arrangement, tariffs on all UK goods exported to Australia and New Zealand have been removed, with red tape cut for digital trade and work visas.
The government said the deals are expected to increased bilateral trade by up to 53% with Australia and 59% with New Zealand. It could also mean reduced prices in the UK for products such as wine, Tim Tams and kiwi fruit.
Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said:
"Today is a historic moment as our first trade deals to be negotiated post-Brexit come into effect.
"Businesses up and down the country will now be able to reap the rewards of our status as an independent trading nation and seize new opportunities, driving economic growth, innovation and higher wages."
To mark the deals, a shipment of British goods is being sent Down Under. As well as the Beano comics it includes Penderyn single malt Welsh whisky, shave gels from King of Shaves, Brighton Gin, The Cambridge Satchel Co. bags and Fever-Tree mixers.
International trade minister Nigel Huddleston will tour a DHL distribution centre near Heathrow to see off the consignment. He said:
"Australia and New Zealand are two of our closest friends and likeminded partners and our trade deals secure favourable terms for British exporters, removing tariffs on all UK goods and slashing red tape."
Kathy Caton, Enterprise Nation member and founder of Brighton Gin, added:
"In an increasingly competitive and global market removing trade barriers is exactly the support that the British gin industry needs. With a Brighton in every state in Australia, one of our goals is to see Brighton Gin being served in every one! Hopefully the free trade agreement gets us one step closer to that."
As well as trade, the government said more young Brits will benefit due to the expansion of the shared Youth Mobility and Working Holiday Maker visa schemes.
On 1 July 2023 the age limit for UK applicants going to Australia will increase from 30 to 35 years old, and from 1 July 2024 Brits will be able to stay in Australia for up to three years without having to meet specified work requirements.
The agreement also gives UK businesses access to government contracts and investment opportunities, as well as "advanced rules" on digital trade to help with the free flow of data and protection of UK firms' intellectual property.
The deals have not been welcomed by everyone, particularly farming groups. With Australia and New Zealand among the world's biggest producers of lamb, the National Farmers' Union claimed it could cost the UK sector up to £150m.
Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake described the trade deals as the "beginning of a worrying chapter" for Welsh farming, but the government said the agreements "include robust protections for British farmers, including staging tariff liberalisation for sensitive goods over time".
Guidance for trade deals with Australia and New Zealand
The government has produced guidance for businesses on the two deals: