Press Release

Rail Industry welcomes signing of Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement

17 December 2021

The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the trade body for the UK rail supply community, has welcomed the signing of a trade agreement between Australia and the UK.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The signing of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement today is really positive news for the railway industry, supporting UK rail suppliers in developing greater trade ties with one of their top priority markets.

“A number of UK rail companies are already well established in Australia, but this Free Trade Agreement will allow greater trade and co-operation between the two industries by opening up Australian Government contracts to suppliers and removing tariffs on railway products.

“Ultimately, this Agreement will support sustainable transport both in the UK and Australia, and the jobs, investment and economic growth our railways bring to both nations.”
Notes to Editors

1. The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement can be found here. 

2. In the DIT's Benefits for the UK briefing, on rail, it says: "This deal gives UK companies legally guaranteed access to Australian government contracts on rail procured by bodies covered by this deal. It ensures UK rail businesses do not face any quantitative restrictions, such as quotas, or unfair treatment when investing and operating in Australia. It also removes all tariffs on rail-related goods, including rolling stock, track fixtures and fittings, and traffic signalling equipment. Australia is a priority market for UK rail companies, with the Australian rail industry valued at AUSD $29.8 billion according to the Australasian Railway Association. UK companies already have a strong presence in Australia, from design and engineering to the export of rolling stock and operation of railroads and this deal will help them to further expand. The Australian market is a huge opportunity for UK rail companies interested in the planned expansion of rail services across the continent. A further AUSD $3 billion in funding for rail related projects around the country was announced in Australia’s 2021-22 budget."

3. Key statistics about the Australian and UK rail markets:
In 2019, the Australian railway industry contributed around $30 billion (£16.2 billion) to the Australian economy, growing by $3.7 billion (£2 billion) since 2016 and representing a 14% increase (4.5% a year).
According to an October 2020 Rail Sector Deal Exports (RSG) Survey, Australia is the current number one priority market for UK exporters, as well as a top priority market where companies believe their railway sector goods or services have potential to be exported with assistance from the rail industry and Government.

Australia is rated at 90% on the accessibility scale for exporters by European rail trade body UNIFE (World Rail Market Study – Forecast 2020-2025).

The Australian Government have planned a major programme of rail transformation. Investment planned in the next 15 years by central government aided by industry-wide collaboration, could lead to annual growth of 1.5% for the next five years.

As of July 2021, Australia had around 15,000 rail projects in delivery.

4. RIA published a member-only briefing on the Australian rail market, available here.

5. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has 300+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £43 billion in economic growth and £14 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 710,000 people. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK; for every £1 spent in rail, £2.50 is generated in the wider economy. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number).  www.riagb.org.uk  

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