The UK is expected to export more cars, Scotch whisky and candy to Australia after the two countries revealed a free trade deal on Tuesday.
The agreement is the first bilateral trade pact negotiated and signed entirely by Britain since it left the European Union last year — a step critics said would devastate the country’s economy by reducing its role in global trade.
British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson painted the deal as a key step in showing that the UK can hold its own internationally without EU membership.
“I think this is important economically, there’s no question about that … but I think it’s more important politically and symbolically,” Johnson said while announcing the deal. “We’re opening up to each other and this is the prelude to a general campaign of opening up around the world.”
Australian trade minister David Littleproud also said the deal represents a “great win” for Australian agriculture.
But the deal between two far-flung nations represents a drop in the bucket for their economies.
According to British official estimates, it could add 500 million pounds to the country’s economic output over the long term — a small fraction for an economy worth around 2 trillion pounds.
Specific details of the deal have not been revealed, but Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison touted it as “comprehensive.”
“This is the most comprehensive and ambitious agreement that Australia has concluded,” Morrison said.
Prior to Britain joining the EU’s common market in 1973, former colony Australia was its most lucrative trading market.
With Post wires