I note the announcement made by the UK Government on 16 December that they have concluded negotiations for a UK-Australia free trade agreement (FTA).
The FTA with Australia could bring potential benefits to Wales. The value of goods trade between Australia and Wales in the year ending June 2021 amounted to £186.6m, with Australia being our 20th largest goods export market and 42nd largest goods import market. Latest services trade data for 2019 estimate our services exports to Australia were valued at around £181m, whilst imports of services from Australia were valued at around £53m.
Whilst there may be benefits in the deal for Wales, particularly in the area of services and mobility, I was clear during the negotiations that any trade deal must not disadvantage Welsh producers or compromise the high quality standards that are so important to us in Wales. This is particularly important for our agriculture sector who adhere to high environmental and animal welfare regulations and we continue to have significant concerns around the increased market access included in this agreement, the impact this may have on our producers and the precedent it may set for future deals. I am disappointed that my views on this element of the deal appear to have not been taken on board. My officials and I made this point very clear to UK Government during negotiations.
Now that the full details of the finalised agreement are available, my officials will be scrutinising the details of the deal and we will publish a Wales focused assessment once this analysis work is complete. We will also engage with stakeholders in Wales to understand their thought on the impact of the deal.