On 16 December 2021, the UK has signed a trade agreement with Australia, following the Agreement in Principle (AiP) on the deal in June 2021. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is the first ‘from scratch’ UK trade agreement to be finalised, since Australia did not have an existing agreement with the EU before the UK’s exit.
The deal specifically includes a dedicated Cosmetics Annex which lays the groundwork to reduce the differences in regulation for UK businesses exporting to Australia. The Australian and UK Governments will seek to work together through international fora to align cosmetics regulation where appropriate. The inclusion of a Cosmetics Annex will make it easier to understand what rules UK businesses need to follow, including on products that are classified as cosmetics in one system but not the other. For example, UK businesses exporting products such as sunscreens and anti-dandruff shampoos to Australia will be supported to understand whether their product is a cosmetic and what rules they need to follow.
The Agreement is expected to unlock £10.4 billion of additional trade, while eliminating tariffs on 100% of UK exports, and will also boost the UK’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), covering 11 Pacific nations from Australia to Mexico. More information on the UK-Australia FTA can be found on the UK Government website.