Back in June, Government commenced bilateral trade talks with Australia and New Zealand, two nations with which the UK has deep and historic ties. For the UK automotive industry, both countries represent important trading partners, with the UK exporting more cars to both markets than any other product.
Domestic automotive production in both countries is limited, and as such road vehicles and automotive parts and components are largely imported. The ongoing trade negotiations are therefore a step in the right direction to improve market access to these markets.
The automotive industry is supportive of the government’s ambitions to secure a free trade agreement (FTA) with both nations and would like to see the following issues addressed in UK/Australia and UK/New Zealand negotiations:
Tariffs – tariffs on both finished vehicles and parts should be fully liberalised after the entry into force of the FTAs with Australia and New Zealand.
Rules of Origin – The UK should negotiate workable rules of origin for finished vehicles and parts and components which reflects the UK’s supplier base.
Regulatory barriers – In their respective agreements, the parties should include a dedicated Automotive Annex addressing regulatory barriers. The two Annexes should ensure that both Australia and New Zealand will fully accept UNECE regulations and commit to enhanced cooperation.
Customs – An agreement on customs procedures should focus on eliminating unnecessary controls and improve the efficiency of customs clearances.
Future opportunities – Government should negotiate a favourable business environment to aid UK business efforts to source battery components and raw materials from Australia where appropriate.
Labour mobility – Automotive would welcome measures to further facilitate movement of personnel, professionals and business visitors.