Boris Johnson shames Remainers with hefty Australia deal after ‘folly to even try’ claims
Australia trade deal a 'practice run' for UK says expert
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The massive package announced by Number 10 today is a evidence of the UK’s rising potential less than six months after the Brexit transition period drew to a close. The deal means Britain will be able to sell cars and Scotch whisky to consumers Down Under without levies.
While Brexiteers hailed the deal as a historic and momentous step for the country, previous scepticism expressed by Brexit opponents has resurfaced.
After Britons voted to break ties with Brussels in the June 2016 EU referendum, Brexit critics were quick to list their reasons why the UK would fail to prosper outside of the club of nations.
After the Brexit vote, David Allen Green, a leading lawyer, said after the UK left the EU it could take up to 10 years for it to strike a trade deal with Brussels.
And others claimed the UK lacked the expertise and competence required to strike its own free trade pacts with nations across the globe.
Labour peer and outspoken Remain campaigner Andrew Adonis said in 2017 that it was “folly to even try” negotiating bespoke deals after Brexit given a lack of negotiators.
Today he took to Twitter to issue a sheepish response to the UK’s announcement.
He claimed the Tory Government was undermining trade with the EU and trying to make up for it with the Australian deal.
He wrote: “People aren’t stupid.
“They know that if you undermine the terms for half your total trade (with the EU), a bit more trade with a small country on the other side of the world (Australia) is like building a sandcastle in the face of the incoming tide.”
He later described Brexit Britain as “AWOL (absent without official leave) and isolated” on the world stage.
He tweeted: “The EU/US transatlantic summit takes place with President Biden, discussing huge trade & green agendas affecting combined population of 778m.
“Brexit Britain, AWOL & isolated, bigs up marginal trade concessions with a small country on the other side of the world, population 25m.”
Despite the warnings spouted by Remainers who were dubbed “gloomsters” by pro-Brexit voters, the UK has signed multiple post-Brexit trade agreements in the past few months.
The latest deal with Canberra will give a much-needed boost to trade in services as red tape will be slashed.
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Firms in the UK and Australia will also also find it easier to bid for procurement projects in each country.
The Aussies will receive generous quotas for tariff-free shipments of beef and lamb into Britain.
The quotas will steadily increase until tariffs are abolished after 10 years.
Further “safeguard” duties covering the following five years will kick in if imports exceed certain thresholds during a calendar year, according to the Australian government.
While Downing Street has described these measures as a 15-year protection for British farmers against tariff-free imports from Australia, it currently means the Aussies can greatly ramp up its exports of red meat before tariffs become an issue.
Australia will be given immediate access to a duty-free sheep meat quota of 25,000 tonnes when the deal starts – far in excess of shipments to Britain of 7,788 tonnes made in 2019, according to Australian government data.
By contrast, Australia often uses up its duty-free sheep meat quota for the entire European Union, which currently stands at 19,186 tonnes.
So unlike with the EU, Britain’s trade deal means that Australian exports of red meat to Britain can rise sharply before tariffs become an issue.
The Prime Minister tweeted a snap of himself and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to celebrate the deal.
He is seen handing a packet of Penguin chocolate bars to Mr Morrison in exchange for Tim Tams, the famous Aussie treats.
Mr Johnson said: “The deal is done.”
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