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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Benefits for Service Suppliers and Investors

The Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) will increase two way flow of investment and trade in services and create new opportunities for Australia's service suppliers and investors.

Key Outcomes

The UK's commitments will provide greater access and certainty for Australian service suppliers and investors across a range of sectors. Non-discriminatory treatment will put them on an equal footing with their UK and international competitors. Commitments include:

  • professional services commitments covering the supply of legal, accounting and bookkeeping, taxation, architectural, engineering, integrated engineering, urban planning and landscape architectural services
  • business services commitments in a range of sectors including computer and related services; research and development services; real estate services; rental/leasing services without operators; other business services including advertising, management consulting, services related to manufacturing and energy distribution, printing and publishing
  • maritime transport services commitments that guarantee access to ports and other maritime services, consistent with our cabotage regimes
  • financial services commitments in a number of new insurance and portfolio management sectors. Provisions on innovative financial services (FinTech) will improve accessibility for services that are new, or delivered via new technologies
  • telecommunication services commitments that guarantee access to, and use of, public telecommunications networks or services; safeguards and approaches to regulation that prevent anti-competitive practices and discrimination in the telecommunications sector; and the independence of telecommunications regulatory authorities.

The UK will also provide Australian service suppliers and investors with new commitments, including in

  • communication services (including postal, courier services and telecommunications)
  • construction and related engineering services
  • distribution services
  • environmental services
  • tourism and travel-related services
  • transport services
  • industries such as energy, manufacturing, mining, quarrying, forestry and agriculture.

Mobility for investors and services suppliers to the UK

Business visitors responsible for setting up an enterprise in the UK, undertaking meetings, consultations, research and after-sales, and attending training seminars, trade fairs and exhibitions, will be able to visit for three months in any six-month period.

Australian investors establishing a branch or subsidiary in the UK will be eligible for stays for up to one year.

The UK has guaranteed access for managers and specialists across all sectors to undertake three-year intra-corporate transfers to the UK, and for graduate trainees to have one-year transfers.

Australians entering the UK as Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals will have the same access as European Union nationals. This will provide new opportunities for our service suppliers to work in the UK on contracts for up to a year.

Investor Protection

The UK is a significant investor in Australia. The A-UKFTA supports this existing partnership and reflects our mutual confidence in each other's economy.

For the first time in an FTA, the UK has agreed to include investment protections covering portfolio as well as direct investment. This is an important outcome for Australian funds, including super funds, investing in the UK market.

The A-UKFTA extends to Australia the investment protections the UK has provided to other partners. These include a requirement to accord Australian investors a minimum standard of treatment, and to allow freedom to make transfers relating to their investments, consistent with tax, financial, criminal sanctions and other laws. 

Australia has retained the right to screen investment on national and security grounds, while raising the investment screening threshold to match that given to other key investment partners. This will encourage more British investment to support Australian growth and jobs.

There is no investor-state dispute mechanism in the A-UKFTA, reflecting the confidence we share in each other's legal systems.

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