Interview with Jessica Rouse, Hunter Valley Today

  • Transcript
Subjects: Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement
16 June 2021

Jessica Rouse: Jess in with you this morning. Now, the UK's first major trade deal since Brexit was a done deal over the last 24 hours with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and it's something that will affect us here in the Upper Hunter, particularly when it comes to our beef producers, our winemakers, and a whole lot more. And to break it down a little bit for us, I am joined this morning on the line by the Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment, Dan Tehan. Dan, how are you doing this morning?

Dan Tehan: I'm going very well, Jess. It's a great day for Australian exporters.

Rouse: It certainly is. And for a place like the Upper Hunter that is big on beef, big on wine, what does this mean for us here?

Tehan: Well, the great thing for our wine producers is that we now get tariff-free access into the United Kingdom when the agreement comes into force. And for our beef producers, we'll get tariff elimination over 10 years and, also, they will get an upfront ability to be able to send 35,000 kilo tons…

Rouse: [Talks over] Wow.

Tehan: …of beef to the UK on entry into force, which we are aiming to be 1 July next year.

Rouse: Yeah. Compared to what we had previously, what are the changes? What are the benefits now compared to previous agreements with the UK?

Tehan: So, previously, what we've had to do was pay tariffs to get our goods into the United Kingdom, and many of those tariffs were so high it made it very hard for us to export to the UK, especially when it came to beef, and especially when it came to lamb, when it came to sugar, when it came to rice. It meant that it was very hard for us to access that market. That has all changed now, and we will see Australian agricultural produce flowing again into the UK market. When it came to our wine, there was also tariff quotas as well, and so what we'll see is good quality Australian wine be able to get into the UK at a cheaper price. And, as we know, and as those wine producers in the Upper Hunter would know, we make the best wine in the world, so it's a good day for our wine growers.

Rouse: That's exactly right. There's benefits on both sides for both countries, here in Australia, obviously, but over in the UK as well. We know that farmers in the UK were concerned about how it was before.

Tehan: That's right, and one of the real benefits for UK farmers is that this will pave the way for them getting access to a regional free-trade agreement in our region, one that's called the CPTPP. It's countries in the Indo-Pacific region. And now that they've done this agreement with Australia, it'll pave the way for them to get access to very important markets in the Indo-Pacific. So this is a win-win for the United Kingdom and Australia, and it's fantastic that we'll be able to grow the economic relationship even closer in the years to come.

Rouse: When can we expect this agreement to be fully rolled out?

Tehan: So the aim is 1 July next year, we've got the Agreement in Principle. We now have to do what's called the legal scrubbing and get a text together between 600 or 800 pages, and then get that signed through each other's Parliaments. And the aim is 1 July next year it will be enforced and we'll be able to get the benefits of it.

Rouse: And also as a part of this particular deal, when it comes to Aussies who want to go over to the UK to work, there's changes to that as well. You can do it up until you're 35-years-old and you can stay over there longer.

Tehan: That's right. So, for anyone who's under 35, you will be able to travel to the UK on a working holidaymaker visa and you can stay for three years, up to the age of 35. So this is another good outcome, because the more we can get our young people visiting in each country, working in each country, the more you enhance the relationship. And it's been a relationship which has had very close historical ties over many, many years, and the more we can encourage that exchange of views, the better it is for the future relationship between our two nations.

Rouse: Exactly right. Well, it's a fantastic outcome for both countries. Dan, we really appreciate your time on the show this morning to break it all down for us.

Tehan: Thanks, Jess. It's been a pleasure.

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