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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Benefits for the Environment

The Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) aims to support the high levels of environmental protection in Australia and the United Kingdom as appropriate in a trade agreement. It is consistent with the ground-breaking Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Key Outcomes

The A-UKFTA promotes the effective enforcement of domestic environmental laws and lays the foundations for Australia and the UK to work together to address a range of trade-related environmental challenges, including climate change, overfishing and illegal wildlife trade.

The Environment Chapter is subject to a robust enforcement mechanism that includes a multi-stage consultation process in seeking to resolve any disputes that may arise. If Australia and the UK fail to resolve a dispute through consultations, the procedures in the agreement’s Dispute Settlement Chapter may be used.

The A-UKFTA recognises that international environmental agreements, including the Paris Agreement, play an important role in protecting the environment, and that implementation of these agreements is critical for them to be effective.

Key outcomes of the Chapter include requirements that Australia and the UK:

  • facilitate and promote, as appropriate, trade and investment in environmental goods and services
  • take measures to control production, consumption and trade of certain substances that can significantly deplete or otherwise modify the ozone layer
  • take measures to prevent the pollution of the marine environment from ships and work together to reduce marine litter
  • seek to operate science-based fisheries management systems designed to prevent overfishing and overcapacity, and to implement port state measures, combat illegal fishing and deter illegal trade in fish products
  • promote the conservation of sharks, marine turtles, sea birds and marine mammals by implementing and enforcing effective conservation and management measures, such as measures to reduce by-catch from fishing and implement finning prohibitions
  • promote the conservation of wild flora and fauna, and take measures to protect at-risk wildlife in its territory, including measures to protect the ecological integrity of designated natural protected areas
  • adopt laws, regulations and other measures to fulfil their obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Both countries also aim to take measures to combat illegal trade in non-CITES species, including strengthening cooperation in this area.

The A-UKFTA lays the foundations for Australia and the UK to work together to address a range of trade-related environmental challenges

The Chapter includes provisions promoting cooperation on matters of mutual interest related to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Areas of cooperation may include protection of ecosystems and access to, and sharing of benefits from the utilisation of, genetic resources.

It also incorporates provisions promoting cooperation on matters of mutual interest related to tackling climate change and transitioning to low emission economies, such as cooperation on clean and renewable energy sources, deforestation and emissions and air quality monitoring.

The Chapter recognises the importance of working with the private sector and of encouraging enterprises to take corporate social responsibility measures concerning the environment.

The agreement commits both countries to work together to address potential barriers to trade in environmental goods and services. It also provides for both countries to undertake cooperative activities related to the implementation of the Chapter, such as workshops, collaborative projects, technical assistance and information exchange.

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