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UK's trade relationship with Australia and New Zealand inquiry launched

16 November 2017

The International Trade Committee launches an inquiry into the UK’s trade relationship with Australia and New Zealand. It will be the first in a series of inquiries examining the potential for new trade relationships with members of the Commonwealth.

Trade options

In its first report, UK Trade Options Post 2019, the Committee acknowledged that Commonwealth countries presented “a range of potential trade options—and challenges—for the UK”. 

On the one hand, Commonwealth countries share a common language, history and legal traditions with the UK and have established trading relationships in the UK.  In 2014, the UK exported £40.7 billion worth of goods and services to the top 10 Commonwealth markets (8% of total UK trade).

Improving UK trade

At the same time, the Committee noted that improving UK trade with these countries may require a multi-faceted approach including FTAs, unilateral preferential arrangements with developing countries and increasing exports.

To reflect this, the new inquiries will look at what future trade relations with key developed and emerging markets would look like. In addition, the inquiries will investigate potential mechanisms for improving trade with, and the development of, least developed and developing countries after Brexit.

Launching the inquiry, Committee Chair Angus MacNeil commented:

“When he gave evidence to our Committee Liam Fox told us that Australia and New Zealand were top priorities for a trade deal. It is clear that he sees these two nations as quick wins as he sets about creating the UK’s new trading relationship with the rest of the world."

"While the UK has much in common with Australia and New Zealand, trade negotiations are a two-way street. This inquiry will look at the UK’s priorities for developing new markets in Australia and New Zealand, and the areas where we risk losing out. It will also examine how a trade deal could help expand UK trade in the wider Asia-Pacific region and whether it could be the spring board for deals with other nations in the future.”

Submit written evidence

The Committee is particularly interested to receive written submissions on:

  • the nature of two-way trade between Australia, New Zealand and the UK, including the economic significance of UK-Australia and UK-Zealand trade;
  • what the UK’s priorities and objectives should be, including offensive and defensive interests, in negotiating any trade agreement with Australia and/or Zealand;
  • the possible impacts (positive and negative) on specific sectors of the UK economy from such an agreement(s);
  • the relationship between, and significance of, EU trade agreement negotiations with Australia and New Zealand for any future UK trade agreement;
  • to what extent bilateral trade agreements with Australia and/or New Zealand would improve UK trade relations with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and whether the UK should instead pursue plurilateral agreements with them and other countries;
  • the extent to which any agreement could and should open up markets in services; and
  • how any agreement should approach regulation, including regulatory harmonisation.

Respondents are welcome to cover as many or as few of the points above as they wish and can submit written evidence through the UK's trade with Commonwealth nations: Australia and New Zealand inquiry page.

The deadline for written submissions has been extended to 19 January 2018. 

Further information

Image: Creative Commons

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