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Negotiations on the UK’s Future Trading Relationship with Australia: Update

Statement made on 12 October 2020

Statement UIN HCWS504


The second UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiating round took place from 21 September to 2 October.

Talks were productive, and good progress was made towards a comprehensive deal between our two nations.

Both sides shared draft chapter text or papers outlining their preferred approach, and the groundwork was laid for an initial exchange of tariff offers. Officials from 12 different UK government departments held discussions with Australian officials, with some further sessions coming over the next week that will mean talks will have spanned the breadth of the FTA.

Both countries are committed to removing trade barriers and creating new opportunities for business, and believe a deep and dynamic agreement can send a clear signal to the world that both the UK and Australia are prepared to fight protectionism and advance free and fair trade.

Discussions were productive over all chapter areas, including Digital and Telecoms, where there is a shared willingness to go even further than CPTPP and consider more ambitious proposals.

The number of discussions has now totalled 73 sessions over the first two rounds of talks and both sides have committed to further discussions ahead of round three. This includes on Competition, Digital, Goods, Government Procurement, and Rules of Origin.

The UK and Australia are both keen to continue the momentum of discussions, and the third negotiating round is expected to take place in November.

Below is a summary list of those areas discussed in the round, which continued to take place by video conference:

  • Anti-Corruption and Transparency
  • Competition
  • Cross-cutting general provisions
  • Digital/e-commerce
  • Environment
  • Financial Services
  • Trade in Goods
  • Good Regulatory Practice
  • Government Procurement
  • Intellectual Property
  • Investment
  • Labour
  • Trade Remedies
  • Rules of Origin
  • Services, including Movement of Natural Persons, Professional Business Services, and Transport Services
  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
  • State Owned Enterprises
  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
  • State-to-State Dispute Settlement
  • Technical Barriers to Trade
  • Telecommunications

We also had further positive discussions on Clean Growth, Development, Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Innovation.

Any deal the Government strikes must be fair, reciprocal, and ultimately in the best interests of the British people and the economy.

Linked statements

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords

Department for International Trade
Negotiations on the UK’s Future Trading Relationship with Australia: Update
Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State for Investment
Conservative, Life peer
Statement made 12 October 2020