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2020 has been a year unlike any other, and we know that recovery will take time — but Australia and the United Kingdom have stood together for generations, and we know we'll come back from this stronger and more resilient.

Throughout 2020 we have kept trading through tough times, and together we have safeguarded our sovereignty and prosperity.

Looking ahead to 2021, the Australian Government has a plan to create new jobs, so employment and businesses can come back.

That plan is a roadmap for economic recovery and inking an ambitious and comprehensive free-trade agreement with the UK is important to our come back.

By connecting businesses between our countries, Austrade is powering forward our bilateral ties and firing our economic recovery.

As our governments move toward inking an ambitious and comprehensive free-trade agreement, I am confident we will continue to energise our economies and back businesses to create more jobs in both our countries.

High Commissioner Brandis

UK and Australia reap the benefits of Agritech

In 2019, the UK topped the European agrifood tech funding charts, accounting for one-third of Europe’s overall total. “The UK is seeing trends in urban farming, robotics and precision agriculture,” said Tess Thomas from UK DIT during recent discussion with Austrade’s Arianna Sippel. “Farm management software companies, AgriWebb and Safe Ag Systems are two great examples of how Australia has been contributing to the UK’s burgeoning agritech market.”

The reciprocal flow of agritech smarts from the UK into Australia is also strong. “The Australian agricultural sector is so much bigger than people might think. The population may be small, but it’s very innovative, with support at both the federal and state government level, and encouraging investment into research and development through, or in partnership with our Research & Development Corporations,” said Austrade’s Arianna Sippel.

Global networks key to accelerating business growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for startups to establish new markets, with international travel and face-to-face meetings restricted, but this doesn’t have to be a barrier to launching overseas.

Tess and Arianna also discussed the assistance Austrade and UK DIT are providing to Australian and UK companies to explore opportunities in both markets as well as collaboration and partnering opportunities in third markets.

The UK Australia FTA aims to strengthen ties between the two countries’ agriculture sectors, including through research and development, innovation and promoting collaboration.

Australian cyber security firm Quintessence Labs eyes UK expansion

Founded in Canberra, Australia in 2008, Quintessence Labs (QLabs) implements security strategies to address complex security challenges facing organisations, ensuring current and future data protection.

Over the next 24 months QLabs indicates that it plans to deepen its commercial engagement in the UK and expand its footprint in other countries in the European Union and APAC regions, including India and Indonesia. The UK, with its leadership position in finance and fintech, is an important market for QLabs.

When recently asked about the UK-Australia FTA, Dr. Vikram Sharma, CEO said, “At the forefront of quantum cybersecurity, QLabs is expanding its global deployment footprint of Australian-developed advanced data protection technology. The UK and EU are globally significant markets for cybersecurity and strong, seamless trade agreements with our international partners are key to the successful and cost-effective export of our products.”

The Australia-UK FTA is an important component in facilitating QLabs’ expansion plans with a view to easing restrictions on services provisions for Australian providers.

We strongly support the development of FTAs with the UK and EU – they will drive the acceleration of the growth of our exports to these important markets

Dr. Vikram Sharma, CEO of Quintessence Labs

UK companies await FTA market opportunities

FUEL10K is currently one of the UK’s major easy-to-eat breakfast product brands, currently sitting in the no.2 spot across a range of product categories and stocked in most of the leading UK grocery retailers.

In Australia FUEL10K launched in the major supermarket retailer, Woolworths, earlier this year and was then adversely affected by the global pandemic. The company has since stepped up plans to continue its Australian market entry strategy and is looking to the Australia-UK FTA to facilitate the process through simplified border procedures and duties.

Also, according to Fuel10k one of the company’s key aims is to minimise its impact on the environment. The company indicates that it is striving to make product packaging as sustainable and recyclable as possible. In order to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose, the company states that it has embarked on becoming a certified B Corp company, an ambition that it expects to achieve by the end of 2020.

Benefits of Free Trade Agreements

  • FTAs contribute to greater economic activity and job creation, and deliver opportunities for big and small businesses to benefit from greater trade and investment.
  • FTAs don't just reduce and eliminate tariffs, they also help address behind-the-border barriers that would otherwise impede the flow of goods and services; encourage investment; and improve the rules affecting such issues as intellectual property, e-commerce and government procurement.
  • FTAs give businesses and consumers improved access to a wider range of competitively priced goods and services, new technologies, and innovative practices.
  • FTAs help each country obtain more benefits from foreign investment.
  • FTAs promote regional economic integration and build shared approaches to trade and investment between each country and its trading partners.
  • FTAs can deliver enhanced trade and investment opportunities that contribute to the economic growth of less-developed economies.
  • FTAs support stronger people-to-people and business-to-business links that enhance overall bilateral relationships with FTA partners.
  • FTAs can continue to provide additional benefits to trading partners over time, including via in-built agendas that encourage ongoing domestic reform and trade liberalisation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's FTA Portal is a comprehensive resource for exporters, and importers of goods and service providers looking to explore the benefits of Australia's current free trade agreements and how to apply for preferential treatment under those FTAs.