United Kingdom – Brexit and Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

At 11pm GMT 31 January 2020 (10am AEDT 1 February), the United Kingdom (UK) formally ceased to be a member state of the European Union (EU) – commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’. We have been taking steps to minimise disruptions arising from Brexit for Australian agricultural producers. The Australian Government is:

  • focused on preserving and promoting our strategic and economic interests with the UK and EU
  • working to address any risks posed by Brexit and EU-UK negotiations
  • looking at ways to maximise opportunities with the UK through the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement. On 17 June 2020, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, announced the commencement of negotiations on an Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement. More information can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, including Australia’s negotiating aims and approaches.

Bilateral agreements

Arrangements already in place between Australia and the EU for wine and other exports continue to apply to the UK post-Brexit.

On 18 January 2019, Australia and the UK signed two bilateral agreements taking effect on 1 January 2021:

  1. Agreement on Trade in Wine between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  2. Agreement on Mutual Recognition in Relation to Conformity Assessment, Certificates and Markings between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

UK export conditions and requirements

The Government has been working closely with industry to ensure Australian agricultural exporters can continue to export to the UK.

Animals and Products of Animal Origin (POAO)

  • UK health certificates will be required from 1 January 2021. However, the UK will continue to accept EU model export health certificates until at least 31 March 2021.
  • The UK is rolling-over EU approved establishment listings and countries approved to import live animals and animal products into the UK.
  • Further information can be found on the UK’s website.

Organics

  • The UK is rolling over EU organics legislation.
  • From 1 January 2021, a Great Britain Certificate of Inspection (CoI) will be required for entry into Great Britain.
  • Further information can be found on the UK’s website.

 Plant products

  • There are no operational changes for plant imports from non-EU countries from 1 January 2021.

Wine

  • Import and certification requirements (incl. use of the EU VI-1 certificate) for Australian wine into Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) will not change until 1 October 2021.
  • EU labelled wines will be accepted in Great Britain until 30 September 2022.
  • Further information can be found on the UK’s website.

Tariff-rate quotas

The UK and EU will 'split' the EU’s existing WTO agricultural tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) between the UK and EU-27 at the end of the Brexit transition period (1 January 2021). This will include Australia's country specific quotas for beef, buffalo, sheep and goat meat, cheese, sugar and rice. Proposed TRQ volumes for the ‘splits’ were initially announced by the UK in December 2018 and the EU in January 2019.

The Australian Government has been engaging intensively with the UK and the EU prior to the end of the transition period with a view to amend the initially proposed ‘splits’. Subsequently, the Australian Government has reached agreement with the EU and has reached in-principle agreement with the UK on amended splits and will be working with both sides to ensure these are implemented in a timely manner in 2021 following the end of the transition period.

The UK and EU’s initially proposed ‘splits’ will come into effect at the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021 and export quota arrangements will be managed on that basis. Changes to reflect the new agreed arrangements with the UK and the EU will be made in early 2021. The Australian Government continues to consult closely with affected industries and is working to ensure a smooth transition for Australian exporters.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is making changes to the administration of the EU TRQs for which Australia manages (beef, sheepmeat, buffalo and cheese) to reflect the ‘split’ of TRQs.

Find out more about export quotas.

More information

Find out more about Brexit and the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement


UK Government Guidance Materials including:

Last reviewed: 23 December 2020
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