A major UK real estate and private equity business today welcomed the government’s progress on securing a free trade deal with Australia.
Richardsons, the West Midlands-based business with property and private equity investments around the world, congratulated international trade secretary Liz Truss on “solid progress” in the negotiations for a deal which could add £500 million per annum to UK GDP in the long-term. The UK and Australia say they have agreed "the vast majority" of a deal. After talks in London the two said they aim to conclude negotiations by early summer. "Both countries are confident the remaining issues will be resolved and will now enter a sprint to agree the outstanding details with the aim of reaching agreement in principle," a joint statement said. Carl Richardson, who jointly runs the family international business, said:
“This show of solid progress is welcome and when the agreement is completed it will provide a post-Covid business shot in the arm for the UK.
“We already have multiple business interests around the Pacific Rim and a deal which among other advantages reduces or eliminates tariffs will encourage further investment and make business simpler.” Current and recent Richardson family growth capital investments in that region alone include an Australian-based sustainable aquaculture enterprise, a Singapore-based artisan bakery chain and the largest avocado grower in New Zealand.
The business last month launched the Richardson Enterprise Fund with up to £100million available for investment in established West Midlands businesses who are seeking funding to fuel their growth and create jobs. The UK and Australia are currently ironing out outstanding issues standing in the way of an agreement. When concluded, the UK-Australia free trade agreement will be one of the first post-Brexit trade deals negotiated by the UK that is not a "rollover deal", a replica of a trading arrangement earlier negotiated on the UK's behalf by the European Union. The UK inked a trade deal with Japan in October 2020. Mr Richardson added: “We hope that the Australia deal progresses well because it will act as an incentive to push ahead with the UK’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).” The CPTPP is a free-trade agreement between 11 countries around the Pacific Rim: Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan. Mr Richardson says there will be “enormous” potential benefits of full membership for the UK.
He said: “This should have the effect of boosting trade and investment to help level-up the whole of the country as well as bringing benefits from future free trade agreements with the CPTPP, Australia, New Zealand and the US.”
Critics argue that the UK lacks the strength to have a major influence in the Far East but Mr Richardson suggests that CPTPP membership would signal to the world Britain’s ambition to embed itself in this strategically important region.
He adds: “At the same time it would indicate a desire for a significant place at the table for writing the rules of the digital economy.
“It is a golden opportunity to become a front-row player in what is increasingly called the Asian Century. For Brexit Britain read Pacific Britain. The idea that this is the Age of the East is not a new concept but one that is critically relevant and exciting today.
“We are in the fortunate position that Britain might be accepted into this £9 trillion partnership as a member in the early stages of its development, taking with it credentials for competence in all elements of industry and commerce as the world’s sixth largest economy.”
Mr Richardson added: “If the UK’s application to the CPTPP is accepted this would be a marvellous outcome for Britain and British businesses who are either already trading, or thinking about trading, around the Pacific Rim.
“The icing on the cake would be if others were to eventually join this trading group – in particular the US and China - but regardless, securing membership is a critically worthy goal for the UK on many levels and for many reasons. The progress made towards securing a trade deal with Australia is therefore a positive, and important, step in emphasising the region’s importance to the UK.”
For more information please contact:
Paul Faulkner, Chief of Staff on Paul.Faulkner@rclpartners.co.uk +44 (0)7525 225144;