SYDNEY, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons on Friday to get ready to leave the European Union’s single market at year-end and embrace what he called an Australian-style trading relationship.
But what is an Australian-style deal?
Australia does not have a free-trade agreement with the 27-nation EU, the world’s biggest common trading area, although its exporters want one.
Johnson’s critics therefore say that an “Australian-style deal” is simply code for no deal at all with Britain’s largest export market.
In the absence of a free trade pact, Australia and the EU fall back on World Trade Organization terms that impose a variety of restrictions. Australian farmers, for example, can export meat to the EU at reduced tariffs with two tranches, one for “high quality” and one for “grain-fed” beef.
The former is a fixed quantity with a 20% tariff and the latter is tariff-free, but it is shared with other countries on a first-come first-served basis.
Underlining the risks of a minimalist, WTO-based approach, Australia’s share of the grain-fed quota is set to be squeezed as the EU has yielded to demands from the United States that U.S. farmers take 35,000 of the 45,000-tonne allotment.
Australia’s trade with the EU is dwarfed by Britain’s: Aussie exports to the bloc totalled just 15 billion euros ($17.60 billion) last year whereas Britain sold goods and services worth 300 billion pounds ($387.12 billion), 43% of all UK exports.
Britain formally left the EU on Jan. 31, but its access to the single market continues until Dec. 31 under a transition period intended to give both sides time to agree a future trading relationship. ($1 = 0.8522 euros) ($1 = 0.7750 pounds) (Reporting by Brian Kaye and Swati Pandey in Sydney and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Catherine Evans)
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