Strength from Openness: The Australian High Commissioner on the lessons for the UK of Australia’s successful free trade policy


The Australian High Commissioner on the lessons for the UK of Australia’s successful free trade policy

The UK is the “ideal place from which to pursue the kind of open, liberal trade and investment policy that has served Australia well in recent decades… As one of the UK’s closest friends, we offer our example of the opportunities that might exist for a nation in the UK’s position”,  writes Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK, in The Australian Supermodel: Lessons for the UK, published on Saturday 30 September by the Centre for Policy Studies.

The High Commissioner, who was previously the longest serving Australian Foreign Minister, writes that Australia’s open, liberal trade policy meant that it went from a recession in the early 1980s to 26 consecutive years of economic growth. Its living standards have never been higher.

Central to its economic success has been its programme of trade liberalisation and unilateral tariff reductions. It now has some of the lowest tariff protections of any country in the world. It is not part of any customs union and uses its freedom to negotiate its own FTAs.

This has meant that Australian businesses have become more competitive and enhanced their productivity, benefitting from access to a global market and the economies created by a large customer base. Consumers have benefited from lower prices as a result of reduced tariffs, while small businesses and also benefited from lower costs.

Mr Downer confirms  Australia’s eagerness to begin formal negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement between the two countries and looks forward to the UK resuming its place as a great global trading nation. He concludes:

“As the world’s fifth largest economy, the UK would immediately carry an individual weight it has not always demonstrated in recent times. We welcome the UK as both a champion and partner for free trade”.

The High Commissioner is available for interview/comment.


Prue Loney

Communications Adviser, Australian High Commission

T:  020 7887 5787

M: +44 (0) 7799 400165

E: [email protected]


Tim Knox

Director, Centre for Policy Studies

M: 0790 656 2202

E: [email protected]

Date Added: Wednesday 27th September 2017