The International Trade Council warmly welcomes the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United Kingdom and Australia, a landmark deal set to boost fintech sectors in both nations by removing over 99% of tariffs and enhancing labor mobility.
Signed in December 2021, this comprehensive agreement will not only facilitate work and travel opportunities but will also address critical areas such as digital trade, public procurement, and intellectual property rights. The FTA extends the working holiday arrangement by three years, allowing UK citizens under the age of 35 to work and travel in Australia with fewer hurdles. This move promises to be an economic catalyst for both countries.
Leveraging Industry Expertise
Anastasia Nishnianidze, Austrade's Trade and Investment Commissioner to the UK and Ireland, and Stuart Keen, Head of Community at Fintech Australia, jointly affirmed that the agreement is poised to yield substantial benefits. Their collaboration exemplifies a symbiotic relationship between trade commissions and industry groups in smoothing the path for fintech ventures.
Nishnianidze commented, "The FTA will level the playing field for Australian fintech businesses in the UK, opening up government procurement contracts and easing regulatory compliance. This effectively builds upon the existing Australia-UK Fintech Bridge, further deepening bilateral ties."
Empowering Talent and Innovation
Particularly noteworthy is the Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot, a new visa pathway enabling UK professionals early in their careers to work and live in Australia. This scheme, if successful, is anticipated to be reciprocated by the UK.
Data Freedom and Business Growth
The agreement also abolishes local data hosting requirements, which Nishnianidze heralds as a "game-changer," facilitating more effortless data transfer and reducing administrative burdens for businesses.
Significant Momentum in the Fintech Sector
Fintech Australia has seen a considerable uptick in activity, thanks to the Australia-UK Fintech Bridge established in 2018. Around 42 UK fintechs have successfully launched in Australia, including renowned names such as GoCardless, Clearscore, and Revolut. Another 16 are expected within the next year.
The Sustainability Agenda
Stuart Keen of Fintech Australia emphasized the growing significance of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) factors in the fintech landscape, with firms like Brighte and Greener making sustainability more accessible and affordable.
A Bright Future for Fintech
Both Keen and Nishnianidze are optimistic about the future of fintech, predicting that it will transcend traditional finance boundaries. Nishnianidze observes, "Fintech solutions are increasingly helping individuals navigate the cost-of-living crisis, making finance more accessible and inclusive."
The International Trade Council is enthusiastic about the opportunities this FTA will create for fintech firms across both nations and looks forward to the continued global development that is set to flourish as a result of this agreement.