Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British counterpart Boris Johnson have reached an agreement on trade. The talks between the two PMs ironed out outstanding issues, Reuters said.
Britain had made securing a trade deal with Australia a priority for its post-Brexit strategy as it seeks to build stronger commercial and diplomatic links in the Indo-Pacific region, but negotiations have dragged on for months. A formal announcement would be made later on Tuesday, Australia’s Minister for Trade Dan Tehan said Tuesday.
Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison have overcome sticking points during the negotiations a day after the G7 summit in Cornwall. Australia’s PM Morrison had attended an event as a guest, Mr Tehan said.
“Both prime ministers have held a positive meeting in London overnight and have resolved outstanding issues in relation to the [Free Trade Agreement],” a statement reads.
For the two countries, the agreement is important, taking into account the changed post-epidemic world. This free trade agreement is more about symbolism than immediately tangible material benefits.
The British-Australian agreement will be keenly scrutinised by the UK farmers, who fear they could be forced out of business if the deal eliminates tariffs on lamb and beef imports from Australia.
So far, official estimates say the agreement could add £500 mln to British economic output over the long term. For Australia, however, analysts questioned the importance of an economy already focused on the Asia Pacific region.