A new bilateral Wine Agreement and Mutual Recognition Agreement was signed in London on Saturday designed to help ease the continued flow of post-Brexit trade between Australia and the UK.
Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham told the Sydney Morning Herald these agreements would ensure arrangements already in place between Australia and the European Union for wine and other exports continued to apply for Britain in a post-Brexit world.
“This will mean Australian exporters can continue to benefit from existing arrangements for mutual recognition as they do currently, even if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement,” Mr Birmingham said.
“These agreements provide assurances to Australian exporters that they will be able to get their goods into the UK post-Brexit, whether it be wine, medical devices or automotive parts, without additional trade barriers or regulations.
“They are a significant and necessary step in our post-Brexit preparations, where we want to minimise disruptions to trade flows and provide as much certainty to Australian exporters as we can.
“On top of these, we’re committed to securing a comprehensive free trade agreement with the UK as soon as they are in a position to do so, which will even further boost trade flows between our two countries.”
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said nearly a third of Australia’s exported wine went to the UK last year and wine producers are keen to ensure the UK does not have to rely on EU sources after Brexit.
“This agreement protects Australia’s geographical indicators so UK consumers know our wine is fair dinkum,” Mr Littleproud said. “We can grow our UK trade under this agreement and put more money in Australian wine growers’ pockets.”
According to the Herald, the Wine Agreement replicates an agreement already in place with the EU, meaning the UK will accept Australian labelling standards and certification standards as well as winemaking practices.
Last year Australia indicated it wanted to begin negotiating a new trade deal with the UK on “day one” of Brexit and put it into effect on January 1, 2021.
Australia’s then Trade Minister Steve Ciobo gave that assurance during a speech delivered in London as he called for Britain to start formal trade talks with Australia on March 30 — the same day Brexit officially starts.
Mr. Ciabo paid tribute to the enduring bonds between Australia and the UK while applauding the fact that Brexit would enable the UK to do business as a “sovereign, open and free” nation.
He also wants Australia to play a big role in the UK’s economic world as Brexit opens up global free trade opportunities.
To that end, Mr. Ciobo committed Australia to joining Britain in helping developing nations, particularly those in Southeast Asia, construct infrastructure and flourish.
“So bring on prosperous, free-trading, global Britain,” he said.
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