Bundaberg targets UK trade opportunities

UK trade opportunities
British Trade Minister Liz Truss met Diageo Australia managing director David Smith in Sydney yesterday. Diageo owns Bundaberg Rum and the UK is seeking a free-trade agreement with Australia after Brexit. Photo: Twitter

The UK Government has highlighted Bundaberg as an example of the potential to grow trade opportunities between Britain and Australia after Brexit.

UK Trade Minister Liz Truss is visiting Australia to discuss a free trade agreement.

She has been meeting government officials, investors and business leaders including Diageo Australia managing director David Smith.

Diageo owns Bundaberg Rum.

After the UK Department of International Trade tweeted the meeting, the International Trade Council noted: “Diageo now employs 450 people in Oz & invests in innovative Aussie brands like #Bundaberg. A future #FTA will support this great partnership by reducing #tariffs.”

Bundaberg Regional Council has been cultivating a relationship with the UK Government, hoping to capitalise on Britain’s desire to build trade with Australia.

Former High Commissioner to Australia Menna Rawlings visited in October last year and the new High Commissioner Vicki Treadell is coming in December.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the visits were strategically important to develop UK trade opportunities for Bundaberg Region producers.

“There’s no doubt that Britain is looking towards old friends in the Commonwealth and America to foster closer trading relationships after Brexit,” he said.

“The Bundaberg Region is well placed to provide Britain with sugar, sweet potatoes, chilli, macadamias, liquor and other produce,” he said.

“If a free trade agreement is forged it will lower tariffs and make Bundaberg produce more affordable for British consumers.”

UK trade opportunities
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey with former British High Commissioner Menna Rawlings during her visit to Bundaberg in October 2018.

In a speech earlier this month attended by United States Vice-President Mike Pence, Ms Truss said the UK will be stronger after leaving the European Community.

“For the first time in 40 years we will be able to set our own independent trade policy that works for the whole of the UK,” she said.

“We will be able to enter agreements with other countries such as Japan and South Korea, and renew our historic ties with friends in the Commonwealth, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“The future is bright. This is the year we will throw open our doors to free trade agreements with the rest of the world.”