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The third round of negotiations on the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (AU-UK FTA) was held (virtually) from 23 November to 4 December 2020. A very positive Press Release published by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) noted that the two countries “continued to make progress towards our objective of a bilateral agreement that delivers new and improved opportunities for our exporters and investors.”

Over 50 sessions were held during the two weeks of the round, covering trade in goods, services and investment, digital trade, legal and institutional, as well as other issues typically covered in a modern and comprehensive FTA (such as intellectual property, government procurement and SMEs). The breadth and depth of the negotiations is quite clear. Australia and the UK are like-minded in their ambition to use the opportunity of the FTA negotiations not only to address “traditional” subject matter but also to strengthen cooperation in areas that complement the FTA. For example, regulatory cooperation in the financial services sector and Australia’s mobility proposals, including on youth mobility.

The fourth round of negotiations is expected to take place in late February 2021. In the meantime, negotiators from both countries will continue to work intersessionally to maintain the momentum.

Kepdowrie Chambers has assisted hundreds of UK-based companies with their “homework” and due diligence into the Australian market, including setting up and expanding their businesses in Australia. In particular, we have noted that expressions of interest in the Australian market have grown steadily ever since the 2016 EU Referendum and exponentially since Brexit, so please get in touch if you’d like to have a discussion about Brexporting to, or Brexpanding in, Australia. We’re here to make sure that the learning-curve is not a challenge and you can quickly get on with the more important task of winning new customers.