The UK Government has this week introduced a new bill, which will help bring into force the Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), the UK’s first independently negotiated FTAs in more than 50 years.
The UK signed the Australia FTA in December last year and the New Zealand FTA in February. The Department for International Trade says that “both deals will deliver benefits to people, businesses and communities throughout the country and support the levelling up agenda”. The UK-Australia Agreement is expected to increase trade by 53 percent, boost the economy by £2.3 billion and increase wages each year in the long-run. The UK-New Zealand Agreement is expected to increase trade by almost 60 percent and boost the economy by £800 million. Both the UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand free trade agreements include commitments to addressing climate change like decarbonisation and increasing innovation in green sectors.
Introducing this Bill is an important step in ratifying these trade agreements so that UK businesses can begin benefiting and expanding their trade with Australia and New Zealand as soon as possible.
To bring these agreements into force, the following will have to happen:
- Parliament must formally scrutinise the agreements under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.
- The Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill has to be agreed by Parliament.
- Necessary secondary legislation has to be passed by Parliament to make the changes required to our procurement regime to meet the terms of the Agreements.
- Only once the steps above have been completed can these agreements be ratified and brought into force.
“I am excited to see the UK implement its first ‘from scratch’ Free Trade Agreements in over 50 years and deliver on a key Brexit benefit – having our own independent trade policy”, said International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevalyan.
You can access the bill itself and some explanatory materials via this link.