The EU accounts for 11% of Australia`s trade in goods and 19% of its trade in services. Total trade between the EU and Australia was about $111 billion in 2018/2019 (at 2018 exchange rates). These are concerns such as those that prompted Australia to enter into negotiations with the EU in 2018 in an attempt to reach an “ambitious and comprehensive” free trade agreement. “The outcome of the negotiations remains our clear preference. However, whether we act with the EU under conditions similar to those of Canada or Australia, at the end of the transition period, we will regain our independence as a sovereign nation, which is what the British people voted for,” said a government spokesman. Most trade between the EU and Australia is currently governed by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Former Prime Minister Theresa May`s attempts in 2017 to reach a “tailor-made” deal with the EU have been briefly scaled back in Brussels. His successor, Mr Johnson, agrees that any agreement should be based on precedents and has made the 2014 EU tariff reduction agreement with Canada a possible model. “An agreement on the model of Australia would give us full control over our laws, rules and fishing waters, as well as the freedom to conclude free trade agreements with other countries around the world.” While Northern Ireland remains in the UK`s customs territory, it is subject to EU tariffs on goods from the UK when they are at risk of entering the EU. Northern Ireland will also be subject to EU tariffs on products from Britain when they are partly produced in Northern Ireland. In addition, Northern Ireland will be subject to EU subsidy controls.

Ultimately, these rules could apply to subsidies across the UK if UK public assistance could theoretically have an impact on trade between Northern Ireland and the EU, as established by the ECJ. Negotiations for a trade deal between the European Union and the UK after Brexit have been ongoing since March. Both have until the end of the transitional period for Brexit on 31 December to conclude a free trade agreement. In the absence of an agreement, the trade partnership between Britain and the EU is governed by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. “There must be an agreement with our European friends before the European Council on 15 October… If we do not reach an agreement between now and then, I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should accept it and continue. We will then have a trade agreement with the EU, like Australia. This means that goods and services imported into the UK will be taxed and vice versa, and there could be delays in inspections of certain products at the border. Currently, there are no tariffs on the transport of goods between the UK and the EU and very few such inspections. It is not clear what a free trade agreement on the Canadian model between the UK and the EU would do with the Withdrawal Agreement (AV) and the Northern Ireland Protocol (PIN), which will automatically come into force at the end of the transition period. The annual high-level dialogue on high-level trade policy meets regularly to discuss bilateral trade relations. On 22 May 2018, the Council of the European Union adopted the decision authorising the opening of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and Australia.