Unlocking New Opportunities: The Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement

The ratification of free trade agreements (FTAs) has come to be recognized as a crucial step for businesses looking to expand their operations and enter new markets in a period of expanding global trade. The Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (AU-UK FTA) is one such agreement that offers a wide range of opportunities for exporters, importers, and related trade businesses. With provisions that are meant to encourage long-term growth, investment, and bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and Australia, it is intended to establish a framework for trade and economic cooperation that will endure for the foreseeable future.

We will examine the fundamentals of this FTA, go over its advantages, and go over what exporters and importers should think about doing to take full advantage of the opportunities it will present once it is ratified. 

What is the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement?

A historic agreement between the United Kingdom and Australia, the FTA aims to promote trade liberalisation and strengthen economic ties between the two countries. It is the UK’s first major trade agreement signed since Brexit, demonstrating the country’s commitment to expanding its global trade relationships.

Negotiations for this agreement began in 2020, and it was signed in a virtual ceremony in December 2021. Both countries then proceeded to complete their domestic legal and parliamentary processes until early May 2023. 

On 31 May 2023, the Australia-UK FTA went into effect. 

With the effective date signaling the beginning of a new phase in the economic relations between the two nations, exporters and importers can now take advantage of lowered trade barriers and improved market access. It is important to keep in mind that the agreement will be implemented gradually, with some provisions coming into effect over time in phases. This makes it possible for businesses to adjust to the changes and fully maximise the opportunities the agreement offers. 

What are the key benefits of the Australia-UK FTA?

For exporters and other relevant trade businesses on both sides of the agreement, the FTA includes a broad range of advantages. These key benefits provide opportunities for businesses to broaden their market reach, increase competitiveness, and strengthen economic ties between the United Kingdom and Australia. Here are a few that businesses should be aware of in order to fully capitalise on the opportunities created by the Australia-UK FTA:

  1. Tariff Reductions and Elimination

With the FTA, tariffs on a variety of goods traded between the UK and Australia will be decreased and, in some cases, eliminated. Tariffs on most processed foods, fruits and vegetables, and olive oil are among those that will be eliminated under the FTA. 

  1. Services and Investment

The FTA also covers service and investment liberalisation between the two countries. It contains provisions that will improve service providers’ access to the market, lessen restrictions on foreign investment, and improve the environment for cross-border service trade.

  1. Intellectual Property Rights

The agreement addresses intellectual property rights, providing stronger protection and enforcement measures that can be particularly beneficial for businesses that rely heavily on intellectual property assets, such as those in the technology, creative, and pharmaceutical sectors.

  1. Government Procurement

Businesses in both countries benefit from increased access to government procurement opportunities as a result of the FTA. It creates open, fair processes that encourage competition and promote equal access to government contracts.

  1. Mutual Recognition of Standards

In order to prevent businesses from having to go through redundant testing and certification procedures, the Australia-UK FTA aims to harmonize regulatory standards. This promotes ease of doing business by streamlining trade operations, cutting costs, and lowering costs.

To reap the most benefits from the agreement, exporters and importers must be aware of both its effective date and its specific provisions. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has created a useful guide to assist businesses in navigating the agreement successfully, covering important aspects such as rules of origin, tariff elimination, supply chain considerations, compliance and documentation, and more.

The Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement opens up a multitude of opportunities for exporters and trade businesses in both countries. By reducing trade barriers, promoting investment, and aligning regulatory standards, the agreement lays the foundation for a deeper and more prosperous trading relationship. 

Whilst the FTA is intended to be a long-lasting agreement, it is worth noting that it can be subject to periodic reviews and amendments in response to changing economic circumstances or to further improve the trade relationships between the two countries. Exporters and importers should stay informed by continuously monitoring updates related to the Australia-UK FTA. Stay connected with relevant government agencies, trade associations, and industry bodies that provide information and support.

What is required to claim Preferential Duty Rates under the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement?

A Declaration of Origin which contains the data elements per Annex 4A of AUKFTA is required which can be completed for each shipment or completed to cover a set period.

For a sample Declaration of Origin, please click here


An importer may make a claim for preferential rates of customs duty without a DOO, if they possess the importer’s knowledge that the goods are originating (Article 4.19). This claim must be made on the basis of either the importer having documentation that the good is originating, or reasonable reliance on supporting documentation provided by the exporter or producer that the good is originating (Article 4.19.3)

The complete guide for the A-UKFTA issued by Department of foreign Affairs and Trade (DFTA) can we found by following this link
Importers and exporters who work with McHugh & Eastwood can take advantage of our knowledge, experience, and resources as they navigate the complexities of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement. We can help you streamline trade processes, optimise logistics operations, and ensure compliance, ultimately improving your overall trade performance and facilitating successful cross-border trade.

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