Reacting to the new UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand trade deals which entered into effect at midnight, BCC Head of Trade, William Bain, said:
“A new era of international trade will begin today as the first trade agreements agreed by the United Kingdom since it left the European Union come into force.
“Combined bilateral trade with Australia and New Zealand amounts to over £15bn per year. Inward foreign direct investment from both countries into the UK is £16.6bn, and in the other direction represents a combined £42.1bn.
“By 2035, the Australia deal could boost our economy by £2.3bn per year, and the New Zealand deal by £0.8bn, over the long-term, with benefits felt across the UK.
“For UK firms exporting green goods and services to New Zealand, the agreement offers world leading terms. As the World Trade Organisation recently pointed out, if we get the right fundamentals in place, we can double green trade exports by 2030.
“Of course, the success of any free trade agreement comes down to whether businesses use it and across the UK only 10% of firms are currently exporting.
“If we are to realise the UK’s ambition to be at the forefront of the continuing revolution in life sciences, digital services and green innovation we must look to trade more.
“A recent BCC survey found almost a quarter of firms (23%) said finding a business partner or distributor overseas would encourage them to either start exporting or export more.
“There are strong Chambers of Commerce in both Australia and New Zealand that are affiliated to the BCC, and we will be working with them to get the most from these trade deals for all our economies.
“Having those contacts, that local market understanding and full recognition of the rules and procedures that apply in a destination country can make all the difference between success and failure.
“The message to any business thinking about selling goods and services to New Zealand and Australia is a simple one – there really is no better time to take the plunge.”