International Trade and Commonwealth

International Trade and Commonwealth

Free trade deal planned for UK and Australia

The UK and Australia have agreed ‘the vast majority’ of a free trade deal, which is expected to be confirmed this month. After talks between UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan, a statement was released which said: "Both countries are confident the remaining issues will be resolved, and will now enter a sprint to agree the outstanding details with the aim of reaching agreement in principle.” It is estimated a deal could add £500m to the UK’s gross domestic

product (GDP). It is known that the UK wants to see tariffs slashed on whisky and cars, while the Australians want to see a reduction in taxes levied on meat exported to Britain. Either way, the deal will be good for UK businesses, among them West Midlands-based Richardsons, who have interests in property and private equity investments around the world, including Australia. Richardson family growth capital investments in the Pacific Rim region

include an Australian-based sustainable aquaculture enterprise, a Singapore-based artisan bakery chain and the largest avocado grower in New Zealand.

Golden opportunity: The Richardsons (from left, Carl, Martyn and Lee)

Carl Richardson, who jointly runs the family’s international business, said: “We already have multiple business interests around the Pacific Rim and

a deal which, among other advantages, reduces or eliminates tariffs will encourage further investment and make business simpler. “We hope that the Australia deal progresses well because it will act as an

incentive to push ahead with the UK’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).” The CPTPP is a free-trade agreement between 11 countries around the

Pacific Rim: Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan. Mr Richardson said there would be ‘enormous’ potential benefits of full membership for the UK.

Making connections with European Chambers By Philip Parkin

The Chamber has been hosting a number of special link-ups with European Chambers of Commerce in a bid to reconnect UK business with the continent. The link-ups will feature four major online

events hosted by the Chamber and its European partners, with events focusing on Germany and Italy having already taken place. The events are aimed at helping exporters find

their feet again, after the punishing effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of the UK’s membership of the European Union. Both had been a factor in the drop in exports

which had been reported by UK businesses at the start of the year, although more recent evidence is that trade with the EU is returning to normal. However, in order to strengthen ties with

Europe, the Chamber has joined forces with colleagues representing Germany, Italy, France and Ireland, in an online programme funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority. The Italian event was the most recent, and

examined the opportunities presented by the Mediterranean country. Among speakers were Aaron Pugliesi,

secretary general and CEO of the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy (BCCI), and Steven Sprague, chairman of the BCCI Brexit committee and BCCI councillor at Milan law firm Castaldi Partners.

38 CHAMBERLINK June 2021 Italy is in the South-Eastern part of the

European Union, and is a great hub for UK companies, providing easy access to its neighbouring countries. The country ranks alongside France, UK and

Germany in terms of population, which makes it an important market for any business. According to the BCCI, although Italy’s tax

and legal framework is complex, it is quite stable and capable of securing business growth. Italy’s economy is eighth out of 205 in terms

of nominal gross domestic product (GDP), according to the World Bank.

The country’s strongest sectors are the

automotive, pharmaceutical, food, fashion and tourism sectors, and BCCI says all products designed for these industries will find in Italy ‘a great outlet’.

Aaron Pugliesi said: “Trading with Italy offers

the chance to combine important business opportunities and marvellous human experiences.” Stef Bowes, international manager at Birmingham Chamber, said that the event was one of the first times that the organisation had engaged with its European partners since Brexit. She said: “We were delighted to be re-

acquainted with a key European partner in the British Chamber of Commerce Italy. “This event was an important opportunity to further develop understanding on the new ways

of working together post Brexit. “It examined in detail the current trading

situation between the UK and Italy, and showcased some of latter’s most economically important sectors. “The expert advice from the British Chamber

of Commerce Italy highlighted the opportunities that UK businesses have available to them to grow across the many Italian regions.” The events featuring France and Ireland are

yet to be held.

Aaron Pugliesi: Italy offers important opportunities

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