Preparing for Brexit

​The Australian Government is paying close attention to the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) preparations to withdraw from the European Union (EU).

The EU and UK's agreement in October 2019 extends the UK's Article 50 negotiating period. The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on or before 11pm Friday, 31 January 2020.

The EU and the UK have agreed on a revised Brexit deal. The deal needs approval from the UK and European Parliaments. If the treaty-level EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by the UK and EU prior to 31 January 2020, the UK will leave the EU with a Brexit deal and transition period.

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
  • looking at ways to maximise opportunities with the UK and EU, including through prospective discussions on a comprehensive and high quality Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

‘No deal’ scenario

If there is no agreed Withdrawal Agreement or further extension, there will be a 'no deal' Brexit (where the UK leaves the EU) on 31 January 2020.

You should consider how a ‘no deal’ scenario could affect you. Seek commercial and legal advice as necessary.

We’ve been taking steps to minimise disruptions for Australian agricultural producers and exporters.

Bilateral agreements

On 18 January 2019, Australia and the UK signed two bilateral agreements:

  • Agreement on Trade in Wine between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 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.

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

These agreements are intended to come into effect either:

  • at the end of a transition period agreed to by the EU and UK in a Withdrawal Agreement, or
  • on 31 January 2020, in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

UK export conditions and requirements

The UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will continue to accept existing EU model health certificates and establishment listings if the UK leaves the EU with ‘no deal’. These relate to exports of animals and animal products from third country trading partners, including Australia.

Tariff-rate quotas

The EU intends to ‘split’ existing agricultural WTO tariff-rate quotas between the UK and the EU-27 post-Brexit. This will include Australia’s country specific quotas for beef, buffalo, sheep and goat meat, cheese, sugar and rice.

The Australian Government is currently negotiating with the EU and the UK seeking compensation as a result of the ‘splits’.

We are progressing potential changes to the administration of the EU’s existing agricultural WTO tariff-rate quotas, and these splits will come into effect when the UK leaves the EU. Either through a ‘no deal’ or at the end of a transition period.

Find out more about export quotas.

On 8 October 2019, the UK announced a temporary tariff regime that will come into effect in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. These tariffs would apply for up to 12 months.

Find out more about the temporary tariff rates for the UK in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

Read more

Australian advice

UK advice

EU advice

Last reviewed: 13 January 2020
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