Skip to main content

Call for Evidence

UK-Australia trade negotiations and agreement

The House of Lords International Agreements Committee (IAC), chaired by Lord Goldsmith QC, has re-opened its call for evidence into the UK-Australia trade negotiations and agreement. 

This is a public call for written evidence to be submitted to the Committee. The Committee’s scrutiny of these negotiations is considering a wide range of issues, and we expect this call for evidence to remain open until the agreement is laid in Parliament for scrutiny. 

We are inviting new submissions, as well as written evidence from those who have previously made a submission. 

When preparing your response, please bear in mind that short, concise responses are preferred, which must not be any longer than six sides of A4. Bullet points are acceptable. You do not need to address every question below. Equally, if there are any crucial issues not captured by the questions we pose, please highlight what they are and explain their salience. 

The process for making submissions is set out in Annex 1, but if you have any questions or require any adjustments to enable you to respond, please contact the staff of the Committee at HLIntlAgreements@parliament.uk.  

Background 

The Government has made agreeing a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia an early priority. Australia was the UK’s 11th largest non-EU trading partner and total trade between the two countries was worth £17bn in 2018. The first round of trade negotiations between the UK and Australia commenced on 29 June 2020.  

The International Agreements Committee is responsible for scrutinising how the Government negotiates international agreements, including trade treaties, and the final content of those agreements. A trade deal with Australia would be one of the first major trade agreements agreed by a post-Brexit UK. Our inquiry focuses on the Government’s aims and objectives, the progress of negotiations, and the possible impacts of a final deal for people and businesses across the UK.  

Inquiry focus 

The Committee is interested in submissions on any and all aspects of a new UK-Australia trade agreement.  

Additionally, evidence is sought on the potential impacts of a trade deal on regions in the UK and how different areas, regions and nations across the country might either benefit from the deal or miss out.  

The Committee seeks evidence on the following areas of interest, which are phrased as questions for the ease of respondents. Submissions need not address all questions. 

Areas of interest 

We welcome broad responses to general questions, as well as specific responses in relation to one or more of the key themes set out below. 

  1. Does the agreement in principle published on 17 June 2021 deliver on UK interests, including those of the devolved nations? What are the costs and benefits? How reliable do you find the DIT’s assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed agreement with Australia, either as set out in the strategic approach or elsewhere?  
  2. How can the specific interests of the devolved nations of the UK be best protected as part of the negotiation of a UK-wide trade deal with Australia?  
  3. The UK Government has presented an FTA with Australia as a “gateway” to joining to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). To what extent is a bilateral FTA with Australia required for accession purposes? How might a trade deal with Australia help the UK join the CPTPP? 
  4. What effect could a UK-Australia trade deal have on the UK’s future ability to negotiate deals with other countries, and to what extent does it set a precedent for future negotiations? 
  5. The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) preliminary impact assessment that outlines the gross value added (GVA) of a UK-Australia trade deal on regions in the UK. The impact assessment suggests that the trade deal could increase GVA in Scotland, the North East and North West of England, the West Midlands, the South East and London, in particular. It also indicates that Northern Ireland might experience a fall in output. How do you evaluate these assertions? We would be especially interested in detailed economic analyses on these points.  
  6. What are the economic consequences for farmers and the agriculture and food industries of a deal with Australia? We would be particularly interested in any detailed economic analyses on these points.  
  7. How might the UK agriculture and food industries approach any new competition that might arise from a trade deal with Australia? What opportunities are there for UK companies that might wish to export more to the Australia under a new deal? We would again be particularly interested in any economic analyses on these points. 
  8. What are the likely effects on producers of new arrangements on geographical indications, in particular, on SMEs? 
  9. How might UK businesses benefit from reductions in Australian non-tariff barriers for UK machinery and transport equipment exports, including automotive exports? Do you agree with the Government’s assessment that the deal will support manufacturing jobs across the UK, particularly in the automotive sector? Will it strengthen supply chains? 
  10. The UK Government aimed to increase opportunities for the UK professional services industry by supporting Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications and facilitating the temporary movement of business people between the UK and Australia. From the information available to-date, to what extent will the agreement meet this objective?  
  11. The UK Government stated in its negotiating objectives that it “will seek an ambitious agreement with Australia for financial services and will consider how to promote deeper co-operation on regulatory issues”. Does the information available suggest that the agreement will deliver this? 
  12. The Government has said that the Australian agreement will support the UK services industry through the digital provisions in the deal and bring opportunities to the UK. From your knowledge of the digital provisions so far, how would you assess this claim?  
  13. In your view, could the deal, and in particular the SPS provisions, have an impact on the operation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol and, if so, how? 
  14. The Government has said that the agreement with Australia would secure intellectual property rights that support UK creative industries and would protect the UK’s existing IP standards. Does the information available suggest that the agreement will deliver this? 
  15. What environmental protections and support for trade in environmental goods and services would you like to see in the agreement? From your knowledge of the Environment Chapter so far, will the agreement be sufficiently ambitious? 
  16. What, if any, consideration do you think should be given to the relative carbon intensity of Australian and UK industry and agriculture in negotiating a final free trade agreement.

ANNEX 1: GUIDANCE FOR SUBMISSIONS 

Written submissions should be made online using the written submission form available by pressing the Start button below.

We expect this call for evidence to remain open throughout the course of the UK-Australia negotiations.  

For any questions, please contact the Committee staff at HLIntlAgreements@parliament.uk or by telephoning 020 7219 4840. 

Short submissions are preferred. A submission longer than six pages should include a one-page summary. 

Paragraphs should be numbered. All submissions made through the written submission form will be acknowledged automatically by email.  

Evidence that is accepted by the Committee may be published online at any stage; when it is so published it becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege. Submissions that have been previously published will not be accepted as evidence. 

Once you have received acknowledgement that the evidence has been accepted you will receive a further email, and at this point you may publicise or publish your evidence yourself. In doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee, and you should be aware that your publication or re-publication of your evidence may not be protected by parliamentary privilege. 

Personal contact details will be removed from evidence before publication but will be retained by the Committee Office and used for specific purposes relating to the Committee’s work, for instance to seek additional information. 

Substantive communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the clerk of the Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee. 

You can follow the progress of the inquiry at: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/458/ukaustralia-trade-negotiations/  

This call for written evidence has now closed.

Go back to UK-Australia trade negotiations Inquiry