Australia trade deal heralds new type of agreement to boost innovation and support UK SMEs – by Sharon Todd, SCI CEO
This week’s trade deal with Australia is about more than cutting tariffs on household name Australian products. The first trade deal negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU also signals a new chapter for UK innovation and business.
Described as a ‘new dawn’ by Boris Johnson, this Free-Trade Agreement agreed by the Prime Minister and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, will benefit life science companies and chemicals manufacturers. The two leaders have vowed to align more closely around the key areas of science and technology and climate change – key drivers for business – and society.
The UK needs more innovative types of trade deal such as this one - deals that acknowledge future growth will be fuelled by data and science – a huge potential been calling for broader trade deals such as this one.
The inclusion of a small business chapter in this deal places UK innovators, SMEs and entrepreneurs firmly at the heart of this revolution – just as the UK begins to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. The world needs scientific innovation, clever chemistry and technologies to address global challenges like climate change and poverty. Alongside the Japan and India trade deals, this greater global collaboration will help the UK ‘Build Back Better.’
SCI members are key to developing and commercialising new innovations, working where ‘science meets business.’ As the UK moves to develop further trade deals, key considerations should include:
- The impact on supply chains – of materials and chemicals needed to drive climate change and vehicle electrification, for example
- Clarity on how greater freedom will accelerate and expand new technologies to benefit business
- Strengthened R & D relationships – and what these mean for business in practical terms
By removing barriers to trade, this new deal also signals an intent for future innovation and scientific collaboration. This is a real opportunity for UK entrepreneurs who can benefit from a UK-Australia trade that is already worth £13.9billion – and can only grow.