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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Benefits for the Innovation Sector

The Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) contains Australia’s first ever chapter dedicated to innovation and includes a commitment to establish a Strategic Innovation Dialogue to strengthen and increase our collaboration.

Promoting an innovation economy

The A-UKFTA’s Australian-first innovation chapter recognises the important role that innovation plays in stimulating competitiveness, increasing productivity, encouraging investment and promoting international trade.

The chapter aims to create opportunities for expanded bilateral trade in emerging and transformative goods and services, including artificial intelligence and other digital technologies. The chapter defines innovation as including the development or implementation of a new or improved product or process.

In the chapter, Australia and the UK have agreed to work to collaborate on the development and adaption of governance frameworks, such as the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence. The GPAI brings the world’s most innovative economies together and bridges the gap between theory and practice in emerging technologies.

The chapter recognises the importance of developing internationally aligned governance frameworks for the trusted, safe and responsible use of emerging technologies.

In this vein, Australia and the UK have committed to consider internationally recognised principles or guidelines, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Principles on Artificial Intelligence.

Within 12 months of entry into force of the agreement, Australia and the UK will establish a Strategic Innovation Dialogue to facilitate an open business environment that supports and stimulates innovation and helps to identify unnecessary barriers to trade in innovative goods and services.

The Dialogue will promote trade-facilitative innovation policy and cooperation on mutual interests, which may include emerging and transformative technologies and supply chain resilience. It will also encourage trade in innovative goods and services in sectors such as agriculture, health and energy.

The Dialogue will also set the scene for greater collaboration between Australia and the UK’s world-leading businesses, universities, and research agencies and facilitate and promote investment in research and development. Priorities for collaboration include artificial intelligence, clean and low emissions technologies and other digital technologies.

The Dialogue may include industry experts and other non-government stakeholders and involve engagement with any committees or bodies established under the agreement.

Australia and the UK recognise that the disciplines considered in the Strategic Innovation Dialogue must remain relevant to the everchanging trade and investment challenges facing our countries.

That is why the A-UKFTA includes a review mechanism that requires developments in innovation to be considered as part of a review of the agreement, and why the Strategic Innovation Dialogue is designed to be agile.

Engaging the world

The A-UKFTA builds on a successful history of collaboration on innovation between Australia and the UK. In 2018, we established the UK-Australia FinTech Bridge which provides networking and investment opportunities and facilitates mutual market access. In 2021, we created the UK-Australia Space Bridge, which has already boosted Australian technology businesses and led to the establishment of the National Space Industry Hub in Sydney.

The A-UKFTA’s innovation chapter will continue this momentum of collaboration.

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