Responding to the recent news of the UK striking a new trade deal with Australia, Sharon Todd, CEO of the Society of Chemical Industry [SCI], says that the agreement marks the start of a new chapter for UK innovation and business.
Indeed, the free-trade agreement between both countries has been heralded as a “new dawn” by prime minister Boris Johnson himself. Johnson and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, have pledged to align more closely around the key areas of science and technology and climate change as part of the agreement, which Todd believes are key drivers for business.
Todd said: “This free-trade agreement will benefit life science companies and chemicals manufacturers. The UK needs more innovative types of trade deal such as this one - deals that acknowledge future growth will be fuelled by data and science.
“The inclusion of a small business chapter in this deal places UK innovators, SMEs and entrepreneurs firmly at the heart of this revolution – just as the UK begins to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. The world needs scientific innovation, clever chemistry and technologies to address global challenges like climate change and poverty. Alongside the Japan and India trade deals, this greater global collaboration will absolutely help the UK ‘Build Back Better.’”
Members of the SCI - which seeks to connect industry, academia and government - will be crucial in the continuing development and commercialisation of new innovations, working where science and business cross paths.
By removing barriers to international trade, Todd believes that the new UK-Australia deal is a signal of intent for future innovation which will only open further opportunities for UK business.
She explained: “This is a real opportunity for UK entrepreneurs who can benefit from a UK-Australia trade that is already worth £13.9 billion – and can only grow.”
To help business truly excel in more open trading landscapes, Todd added that the government should take several key considerations into account when formulating further trade deals.
“The government would do well to heed the impact on supply chains of materials and chemicals that are needed to drive how we address climate change and bring forward vehicle electrification. We also hope for clarity on how greater freedom will accelerate and expand new technologies to benefit business.
“Something else that we would like to see is strengthened relationships within the R&D sphere, and heightened awareness what this will mean for business in practical terms.”