The magnitude of potential customs savings for UK companies trading goods with Australia can be calculated by taking into account the impact on tariffs on intermediate goods imported into the UK, as shown in Table 9. The following analysis is based on the UK`s current tariff. The UNITED KINGDOM Global Tariff (UKGT) is not taken into account. The government, led by my Department for International Trade, has prepared for the UK to pursue an independent trade policy after its withdrawal from the European Union. We have made great strides. We have opened 14 informal trade dialogues with 21 countries, from the United States to the United Arab Emirates to Australia. We have also worked closely with our existing trading partners to ensure the continuity of the European Union`s trade agreements. The UK`s trade with countries with which we aspire to continuity[footnote 176] made £139 billion in 2018, or 11% of the UK`s trade. [Footnote 177] The Government will continue to ensure that decisions concerning public services, including the NHS, are made by UK governments, including de-gps, and not by our trading partners.
Protecting the UK`s right to regulate public services is of the utmost importance. UK public services are protected by specific exceptions and reservations in EU trade agreements and, if we leave the EU, the UK will continue to ensure that the same strict protection is included in the trade agreements in which it participates. Several NGOs have raised concerns that high national standards and thus relatively high compliance costs for UK companies (food producers) could penalise them compared to their Australian competitors. Comments were also made on health and social security services, including concerns about competitive tendering and the liberalisation of public procurement. A number of comments focused on the potential benefits of reducing or eliminating tariffs between the UK and Australia. The perception was that this could further improve trade between the two countries and that it should be a key priority for a future free trade agreement as long as Australia does not benefit from it more than the UK. Stakeholders stressed the importance of protecting certain sectors by maintaining existing tariffs. In particular, interviewees highlighted the concerns that a reduction in tariffs (and a broader free trade agreement) might have for certain sectors such as agriculture. Some stakeholders recommended that tariffs in these sectors be maintained or reduced over time in order to cope with negative effects on UK industry.
Services sectors, such as banking, education and tourism, could reap the greatest financial benefits of a trade agreement. Britain is already our third-largest service partner with a commercial value of approximately $15.2 billion in the past fiscal year. In total, the UK is Australia`s seventh-largest trading partner, with two-lane trade worth $30.3 billion in 2018-19. Due to the close links between the New Zealand and Australian economies, the baseline used in this modelling also takes into account the tariff reduction assumptions faced by New Zealand exporters in the cattle and meat products sub-sector. [footnote 64] This assumption should reflect new Zealand exporters` market access through tariff rate quotas (TRQs). Like New Zealand, some Australian products currently enjoy preferential access to the UK through WTO tariffs. . . .