The International Trade Secretary has said the UK-Australia trade deal is crucial for both economic growth in the two countries and to safeguard “shared values” while on a visit to the Commonwealth nation.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan was speaking to the Australian-British Chamber of Commerce on the final day of her visit on Friday.
She said the UK and Australia must build on the new trade deal as part of the UK’s post-Brexit era, but also to “stand up for liberty”, referencing the war in Ukraine and “the rules-based international order”.
“We welcome Australia’s ongoing commitment to a free, stable and open Indo-Pacific region based on the rule of law, human rights, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said.
She is the first Cabinet minister to travel to the country since it elected a new government in May.
She met with her counterpart Don Farrell in Adelaide to promote the UK-Australia trade deal, estimated to be worth £2.3 billion to the UK economy by the Government.
In the speech to Australian political and business leaders, Ms Trevelyan said: “Our friendship with Australia is more important than ever.
“Together, we show the world that we will stand up for liberty, that we fight back against tyranny, and we will defend our societies’ shared values.”
Our 🇬🇧🇦🇺 ministers underline the importance of our relationship, the opportunity of our #AUKFTA & #AUKUS partnerships & earlier initiatives like our #SpaceBridge📡. We share challenges such as respective skills requirements but more importantly we share solutions. @ukinaustralia pic.twitter.com/5CBxstSLm5
— Vicki Treadell (@VickiTreadell) September 2, 2022
Official estimates suggest the trade deal could produce an increase of as much as 0.08% of gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the size of the economy – in the long run.
“Almost every day there is an example of a new commercial or investment deal between our nations,” Ms Trevelyan added.
Previous estimates had suggested a boost to GDP of between 0.01% and 0.02%.
Ms Trevelyan suggested the agreement would provide lower prices and more choice to British consumers.
A cross-party group of MPs, the Commons International Trade Committee, has previously questioned whether the agreement would result in a noticeable reduction in prices.
Other critics fear the deal could undermine UK farmers, who may be unable to match the prices of Australian goods.
The UK is also applying to join an Indo-Pacific trade bloc, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), made up of 11 countries with a combined GDP of £9 trillion.