Details of Australia trade agreement revealed as UK secures first major post-Brexit trade deal

The PM has hailed 'a new dawn' under the UK's first post-Brexit trade deal, ITV News Economics Editor Joel Hills assesses if that's the case

The UK has secured its first major post-Brexit trade deal, with Australia, hailed as a "new dawn" by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The details were revealed on Tuesday as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrived at Downing Street for a meeting with Boris Johnson.

Under the plans, the government said "iconic British products" (like cars, Scotch whisky and confectionery) will be cheaper to sell in the tariff-free agreement.

Speaking to reporters after details of the deal were revealed, Mr Johnson said the deal does protect British farmers - there had been fears the deal could compromise on food standards and undercut by cut-price imports.

Boris Johnson says British farmers will be protected in the deal

The PM said: "We're opening up to Australia but we're doing it in a staggered way, we're doing it over 15 years.

"We're retaining safeguards, and making sure that we have protections against sudden influxes of goods and also making sure that we adhere to the strongest possible standards for animal welfare."

Is this a big deal? ITV News Economics Editor Joel Hills takes a look

The government’s own analysis shows a trade agreement with Australia will grow the UK economy by between 0.01% and 0.02% in the long term.You would need several hundred deals like this one to offset damage to trade that leaving the EU is causing.

The UK exported about £4.5 billion worth of goods to Australia in the 12 months to March 2021.Over the same period £139 billion was shipped to the EU and £45 billion exported to the US.Goods and services combined, Australia was the 14th largest UK export destination last year.

On farming, Liz Truss told ITV News this trade deal would not allow imports of Australian hormone-fed beef.This will delight UK farmers (who cannot rear cattle with hormones) but the more protection offered to UK producers, the less UK consumers will benefit.

Joel Hills: UK-Australia trade deal is more important politically than economically

Mr Morrison said Australian standards on animal welfare were "very high," adding the country was "well respected" on the issue.

"We are very confident and very proud of our record when it comes to dealing with animal welfare," he said.

Scott Morrison said the UK has done an agreement with its 'best friends'

On whether his existing relationship with Mr Johnson had helped reach a deal, Mr Morrison said "of course".

"This is just another very big chapter in the story of Australia and the UK, that is why I think Australia is the right choice for the UK to be the first to enter into such an agreement," the Australian PM said.

"If you can do an agreement with your best friends first, then you can have the confidence to be able to deal with the issues that flow from these agreements."

The two PM's meet at Number 10 ahead of a formal announcement on the deal

There will be a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years under the plan, which ministers say will protect British farmers.

While Brits under the age of 35 will be able to travel and work in Australia more freely, the government says, opening "exciting opportunities."

In a statement, Mr Johnson said: "Today marks a new dawn in the UK’s relationship with Australia, underpinned by our shared history and common values.

“Our new free trade agreement opens fantastic opportunities for British businesses and consumers, as well as young people wanting the chance to work and live on the other side of the world.

“This is global Britain at its best – looking outwards and striking deals that deepen our alliances and help ensure every part of the country builds back better from the pandemic.”

Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the deal was "important in itself but it’s also a gateway to the wider Pacific area".

She added: "No hormone injected beef will be allowed into Britain, we’re not changing that rule at all."

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