How the East Midlands could benefit from an Australia trade deal

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The world-famous East Midlands shoemaking industry, the region’s manufacturers and high-quality food exporters could all be big winners from an Australia free trade deal, the Department for International Trade has said.

Machinery and chemicals exports from the East Midlands to Australia were worth £130m last year.

Cutting tariffs of up to 5%, removing red tape and aligning regulations could make exporting easier and open up opportunities for growth.

Cutting the 5% footwear tariff could open up new opportunities for Northampton’s renowned shoemakers, such as Tricker’s, to export more high-end shoes and boots to Australia.

Meanwhile, slashing tariffs on food and drink could boost exports for the East Midlands food producers.

Buxton’s Bradburys Cheese sells nearly $3m of British cheese in Australia every year but wants to boost that by up to 60% with the removal of tariffs on their goods.

Nearly 1,200 East Mids business exported goods to Australia last year worth more than £200m.

Machinery & transport equipment makes up nearly half of all goods exports from the region to Australia, worth nearly £100m last year, up by nearly 8% on 2019.

Bradburys Cheese was established in 1884 in the East Midlands, and now exports to over 30 countries.

Its premium quality classic British cheese types can be found in major Australian retailers.

“The current tariff on cheese adds just under £1 (A$1.60) per kilo to the cost of the product at retail and is an extra burden for Australian households and a deterrent to increasing sales. Its removal could cause sales to rise by 50-60% year on year. Quality premium value, in a price sensitive market, will be recognised by the consumer,” says George Paul, owner and chairman of Bradburys Cheese.

Siemens Mobility operates across the UK, including in Lincolnshire.

“The products we manufacture in the UK have similar standards and requirements to Australia, making export a logical next step. The removal of up to 5% tariffs on these products through an FTA will increase the competitiveness of UK manufactured goods, supporting UK jobs and skills investment,” said Justin Moss, head of sales electrification for Siemens Mobility.