The UK-Australia Trade Deal—Love It Or Loathe It

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The UK debate around Brexit is shifting in light of new data showing the consequences of leaving the EU. 

The most recent data shows that leaving the EU would profoundly impact the economy, jobs, and security. This new information is causing many people to reevaluate their position on Brexit.

Last summer, when the UK signed its first crucial post-Brexit trade deal with Australia, the then trade secretary Liz Truss later proclaimed it was a “win-win” situation. This agreement would slash tariffs, lower prices and improve consumer choice overall.

Since the ecstatic announcement of a UK-Australia trade pact 18 months ago, many politicians and officials have critiqued the deal, faulting it for being too hasty and ill-prepared.

With Rishi Sunak now being more patient when signing deals, including trade agreements with India and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, businesses and trade experts are urging the UK to be more strategic when cutting future deals. 

They state that not only this, but the UK must do more to gain public support for international trading at home.

According to officials in Whitehall, “The trade agreement with Australia was pushed through hastily due to unrealistic deadlines set by Truss. These officials say that lack of experience and skill contributed to the shoddy outcome.” One senior civil servant said, “We were trying to move too fast without taking enough care.”

The agreement’s favorability to Australia, mainly its farming industry, was due to the UK’s eagerness to finalise its first major post-Brexit deal. Last month, George Eustice–the former environment secretary–admitted that the pact gave away too much without receiving enough in return.

Out of the 71 rollover agreements that maintained normal trading relations with numerous countries, Australia was one of Liam Fox’s earliest target deals for a “from scratch” arrangement. For those unfamiliar, Fox is the first trade secretary post-Brexit. Along with Australia, Japan and New Zealand were on his list for these new deals.

When Truss arrived at the newly established post-Brexit Department for International Trade in July 2019, she was passionate about completing the deal with Canberra to demonstrate the advantages of leaving the EU.

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