PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has welcomed a free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and the UK, saying it will create more opportunities for business-led growth.
Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson have agreed on the broad outlines of an Australia-UK FTA, allowing for greater access to a range of high-quality products made in both countries as well as greater access for businesses and workers, all of which will drive economic growth and job creation in both countries.
Australian producers and farmers will receive a significant boost by getting greater access to the UK market, while Australian consumers will benefit from cheaper products, with all tariffs eliminated within five years, and tariffs on cars, whisky, and the UK's other main exports eliminated immediately, said Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Dan Tehan.
The UK will liberalise Australian imports with 99% of Australian goods, including Australian wine and short and medium grain milled rice, entering the UK duty free when the agreement enters into force.
The MCA on Wednesday said that modern investment rules under the AU-UK FTA will encourage further investment between both countries, while clear dispute settlement processes and commitments to enhance digital trade and address non-tariff barriers will be good for Australian mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) businesses.
“Australia’s minerals industry and the UK’s industrial sector already have strong partnerships based on a highly developed two-way trade and investment relationship,” said MCA CEO Tania Constable.
In 2020 the UK was the second largest source of total foreign investment in Australia, with the stock of investment valued at more than A$778-billion at the end of 2020. Australia’s two largest mining companies also have direct presences in the UK.
Key minerals exports from Australia to the UK in 2019-20 included gold, valued at A$12.7-billion, lead, valued at A$468-million, and coal, valued at A$214-million.
“The ability to innovate, quickly adopt and adapt technologies keeps Australian mining efficient and internationally competitive, and the AU-UK FTA’s digital trade and intellectual property provisions, which will boost innovation and drive further economic growth through technology-led productivity gains,” said Constable.
“The Australian minerals industry is a reliable supplier of minerals, metals and energy commodities and a global leader in sustainability performance, contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals through water and land stewardship and community partnerships.
“The AU-UK FTA will help establish reliable and responsible supply chains for new technology materials such as lithium, providing mineral and metal inputs to support advanced manufacturing, highly skilled jobs, and the global clean energy transition.
“It will also pave the way for a significant boost to investment and co-operation in technology development, research and innovation.
“The high standards and best practices in the AU-UK FTA will also pave the way for the United Kingdom to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, driving further economic growth and more jobs for Australians,” Constable added.