Britain, Australia reach free trade deal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) greets Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in front of 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, on June 15, 2021. (Tim Hammond/No. 10 Downing Street/Handout via Xinhua)

(Xinhua) — Britain has secured a free trade deal with Australia — the first major trade agreement negotiated from scratch since the former left the European Union (EU), the British government announced Tuesday.

According to the tariff-free pact, British cars, Scotch whisky and confectionery would be cheaper to sell to Australia, which would boost industries that employ 3.5 million people across the country, said the Department for International Trade in a statement.

Under the deal, British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years and Britons under the age of 35 will be able to travel and work in Australia more freely, said the statement.

“The main elements of the deal were agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a meeting in Downing Street last night,” said the statement, adding “a final Agreement in Principle will be published in the coming days.”

“The agreement paves the way for us to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 9 trillion pounds (12.67 trillion U.S. dollars) free trade area home to some of the biggest consumer markets of the present and future,” said Liz Truss, the British secretary of state for international trade.

The trade between the two countries was worth 13.9 billion pounds (19.57 billion dollars) in 2020 and is set to grow under the deal, said the statement.