Preparing for Brexit

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

The UK was scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm UK time on Friday, 12 April 2019.

On 11 April 2019, the EU agreed to extend the Brexit date for up to six months, until 31 October. If the ​treaty-level EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by the UK and EU before this date, then the UK will leave the EU earlier with a Brexit deal and transition period.

If the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement (a ‘no deal’ Brexit) and associated transition period, there may be changes that affect your business.

The 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.

‘No deal’ scenario

A ‘no deal’ scenario means the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement.

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

We have 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


  • on 31 October 2019 UK time, 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 relating to exports of animals and animal products from third country trading partners, including Australia, if the UK leaves the EU with ‘no deal’.

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 to prepare for a ‘no deal’ Brexit. 

Find out more about export quotas.

On 13 March 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 a period of 12 months.

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

More information

Australian businesses and individuals can read more about Brexit:

We will update this page as more information about Brexit becomes available.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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