A shared language plus similarities in the legal and administrative systems make trade between the UK and its Commonwealth cousins Down Under relatively simple, writes Benjamin Coren.
UK businesses looking for new opportunities overseas might overlook Australia and New Zealand, simply because the two nations seem so far away. In reality, actually being on the other side of the world matters little. Our shared history and heritage easily outweigh the perceived problems, making both countries the ideal place to test products.
The numbers add up. Australia is the 13th-largest economy, while its citizens boast the second-highest wealth per capita. Meanwhile, New Zealand is already the UK’s fifth-largest two-way trading partner.
Those making the leap should be aware of certain challenges, of course. Australia has very strict biosecurity regulations that need to be considered for imports of certain products and packaging. And visiting is time-consuming – it can take 24 hours to fly there; factor in the time and cost when sending products to market. The time difference of seven to 11 hours can also make international business calls difficult.
Trade minister Graham Stuart headed to Australia and New Zealand earlier this year as the Department for International Trade (DIT) kicked off its opening consultations about future trade relationships post-Brexit.
Stuart promoted opportunities for UK firms in NZ infrastructure and launched a joint UK-Australia investment report, which shows the UK is now the second-largest destination globally for Australian investment.
Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, he highlighted the investment ties between the UK and Australia – which grew 22% between 2010 and 2017 to more than £63billion. “We’ve taken a major step towards building our bilateral trading relationships with Australia and New Zealand – two of our closest international partners – by opening consultations on our potential future agreements,” said Stuart.
“Combined, their investment into the UK delivered 95 new projects last year, creating almost 2,500 British jobs. These consultations will examine new possibilities for British exporters in the region, especially in technology and infrastructure,” he added.
Ciobo added that Australia and the UK were committed to working together aross diverse industries “from defence to infrastructure”.
“Both countries offer large, open and flexible economies as well as an ideal location from which to access other regional opportunities, be it in Europe or Asia.”
Top exports to Australia and New Zealand include vehicles, machinery and mechanical parts, print products, pharmaceuticals, gems and precious metals, as well as plastics, furniture and iron and steel products.
British Airways: operates flights to Sydney via Singapore, which depart daily from London Heathrow. The airline operates connecting codeshare flights to Australia and New Zealand via Hong Kong, Doha, Singapore or Sydney.
Emirates: flies to Australia and New Zealand via its Dubai hub. The carrier operates over 120 non-stop flights per week from eight UK airports to Dubai. From Dubai, Emirates offers 28 flights a week to Sydney, 21 a week to Brisbane and Melbourne, 14 a week to Perth and Auckland and seven a week to both Adelaide and Christchurch, New Zealand.
Qantas: flies daily from London Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore. The airline also operates a non-stop daily service from London to Perth with onward connections throughout Australia. Qantas also flies to Brisbane via Singapore and offers a wealth of domestic connections. New Zealand flights operate from the east coast.
Royal Brunei: the airline has introduced daily non-stop services from London to Brunei – cutting out the previous stop in Dubai – which then fly on to Melbourne.
Qatar Airways: flies to Australia and New Zealand via its Doha hub. From London Heathrow, there are convenient connections in Doha to services to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.
Etihad Airways: offers services to Australia and New Zealand via its Abu Dhabi hub. One-stop services are operated from Heathrow to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide alongside one-stop services to Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand.
Singapore Airlines:offers daily services from Heathrow to its Singapore hub where regular onward flights are available and ANA operates a daily service from Heathrow to Sydney via Tokyo Haneda, among other one-stop options.
Brisbane, Australia: Brisbane’s South Bank is a hot-spot for eating out and entertaining, or find peace and quiet in the Botanic Gardens.
Perth, Australia: Visit Freemantle Prison to find out more about convict life in Australia. The nearby Swan Valley region is well known for food and wine.
Sydney, Australia: Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge should be top of the list. Head to Bondi Beach for surfing and to Darling Harbour for dining.
Melbourne, Australia: Architecture buffs will get a kick out of the stunning design of the City Library and Flinders Street railway station. The city’s Yarra River offers plenty of nice spots for a stroll.
Canberra, Australia: As the seat of Australian government, it is worth visiting Parliament House and its associated Museum of Democracy (in the old Parliament building). The city is also home to the National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial and striking National Museum of Australia.
Christchurch, New Zealand: Go punting on the Avon through the heart of the city, then get a taste of colonial life at Mona Vale, an early 1900s homestead with gardens, riverside walks and a restaurant. The Christchurch Gondola offers panoramic views of the city and coastline.
Auckland, New Zealand: Take a trip up the 60-storey Sky Tower, which also features a revolving restaurant and bungee jumping. Shopping on Main and Queen Streets.